Mar 12, 2013, 8:05 AM EDT
NBCSN’s ongoing coverage of the 2013 campaign will continue tonight when the Pittsburgh Penguins host the Boston Bruins at the Consol Energy Center at 7:30 p.m. ET.
With just under half the season remaining, both teams are serious contenders for the first seed in the Eastern Conference, and while that might not be a shock, it wasn’t a foregone conclusion going into this season.
These teams had serious question marks when the lockout ended. For the Boston Bruins, the big concern revolved around their goaltending and whether Tuukka Rask would make a smooth transition from strong backup to starting netminder while Anton Khudobin, with little prior experience, emerge as a a viable backup. Both have long since squashed those fears.
In the case of the Pittsburgh Penguins, the concerns were largely injury-related. Could Sidney Crosby, plagued by concussion problems in recent years, stay healthy? So far he has.
In fact, Tuesday’s match will feature the top offensive team in the Penguins facing off against the third best defensive team in the league.
33-year-old forward Chris Kunitz in particular has proven to be a major weapon for the Pittsburgh Penguins and one of the season’s biggest surprises. He’s already had two hat tricks in 2013 – including one on Sunday – and will enter tonight’s clash with 36 points in 26 games.
To put Kunitz’s numbers in perspective: If he maintains his current pace, he will set new career-highs in goals and points, despite the fact that this is a shortened season.
That being said, to bill this match purely as a classic contest between offensive and defensive juggernauts would be misleading. The Boston Bruins have plenty of offensive weapons of their own and a deep core of forwards that should keep the Penguins on their toes.
Given that Penguins goaltenders Marc-Andre Fleury and Tomas Vokoun have struggled this season, the Bruins might be able to match Pittsburgh blow-for-blow even if this turns into a high-scoring affair.
One thing is for sure: This game will feature a lot of stars and two teams that can’t be taken lightly.
Probable goaltenders: PIT – Fleury (12-5-0, 2.71 GAA, .902 SV%) | BOS – Khudobin (4-1-0, 2.42 GAA, .910 SV%)
Top scorers: PIT – Crosby (12-33-45, 26 GP) | BOS – Patrice Bergeron (6-15-21, 23 GP)
May 4, 2015, 9:00 AM EDT
Game 3 between the Rangers and Capitals is the lone game on the schedule.
May 4, 2015, 8:05 AM EDT
Monday’s collection of links.
May 4, 2015, 1:04 AM EDT
The last team to open the playoffs with at least six straight wins was Pittsburgh in 2008.
May 4, 2015, 12:18 AM EDT
He’ll be looking for the Wild to do better mentally at home.
May 3, 2015, 11:42 PM EDT
There are three contests scheduled for Sunday.
May 3, 2015, 11:36 PM EDT
He seemed initially dazed, but stayed in the game.
May 3, 2015, 11:17 PM EDT
Chicago now has a 2-0 series lead.
May 3, 2015, 10:27 PM EDT
Devan Dubnyk had some bad luck on this one.
May 3, 2015, 9:58 PM EDT
“He tries to play God. He tries to control the game and he did that tonight.”
May 3, 2015, 9:14 PM EDT
Prust and Bishop have a history.
May 3, 2015, 8:52 PM EDT
The series will now return to Tampa Bay where the Lightning were 32-8-1 in the regular season.
May 3, 2015, 8:19 PM EDT
This might lead to Jonathan Drouin playing in Game 3.
May 3, 2015, 7:38 PM EDT
How far can the Lightning go if he gets hot?
May 3, 2015, 7:14 PM EDT
Valtteri Filppula snuck one by Carey Price.
May 3, 2015, 7:00 PM EDT
At one point 14 squads were believed to be interested in his services.
May 3, 2015, 6:19 PM EDT
It’s the first time he’s out of the lineup since the start of the 2014-15 campaign.
May 3, 2015, 5:46 PM EDT
Exactly when that will be remains to be seen.
May 3, 2015, 4:55 PM EDT
It’s rarely easy for young stars.
May 3, 2015, 4:15 PM EDT
He’s working nicely with Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry.
May 3, 2015, 3:00 PM EDT
Both were at least some risk of missing Game 2.
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- Video: Stamkos ends goal drought in style 9
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- Video: Ovechkin splits ‘D’, scores while falling 32
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- Video: Blackhawks hold off Wild to take series lead 23
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