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NHL on NBC: Contenders clash as Bruins visit Penguins

Mar 17, 2013, 12:01 AM EDT

Boston Bruins v Pittsburgh Penguins Getty Images

While the Montreal Canadiens are in the conversation, Sunday’s NHL on NBC game features a battle between the East’s elite as the deep and dangerous Boston Bruins visit the red-hot Pittsburgh Penguins.

The Penguins are currently on an eight-game winning streak, with four of those victories coming since Evgeni Malkin was sidelined with an upper-body injury on March 9. Sidney Crosby can sheepishly shrug off best player in the world questions from outlets like the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette all he wants, but he’s easily atop the league leaders with 47 points.

He’s not the only Penguins player making waves in Malkin’s absence, either, as Marc-Andre Fleury set another franchise goaltending record with his 23rd career shutout on Saturday.

Still, as smoldering as Pittsburgh is, many wonder if the team can play strong enough defense to make a deep playoff run in 2013 … especially against a team as balanced as the Boston Bruins.

Speaking of finding the right balance, Bruins head coach Claude Julien told that Saturday’s rugged 4-1 win against the Washington Capitals showed glimpses of what he wants to see from that team.

“With what happened against that team in the last year, there’s no reason why we shouldn’t be ready to play them tonight. We’ve got to start playing closer to our identity,” Julien said. “It’s about putting pucks in, fore-checking, it’s about being physical, it’s about being aggressive in more areas, and more or less playing a north-south type of game. I thought we did that tonight.”

The two teams tested each other on Tuesday, with the Penguins prevailing 3-2 against the Bruins thanks to a three-goal third period that dismantled Boston’s 2-0 lead.

Could the Penguins extend their winning streak to nine straight games or will the Bruins get revenge for Tuesday’s loss? We’ll find out starting at 12:30 p.m. ET on Sunday.

  1. csilojohnson - Mar 17, 2013 at 12:09 AM

    Can’t wait!!

  2. phillyphanatic77 - Mar 17, 2013 at 12:40 AM

    Helluva matchup.

  3. thehighcountrybear - Mar 17, 2013 at 7:43 AM

    This is easy…all Bruins!

    In spite of his many virtues, Sid and the Penguins tend to disappear against either teams that are just plain mean and ugly like the Boston Bruins or teams who ice the actual ‘best player in the world’ like the Detroit Red Wings.

    It is noted the Post-Gazette article came out of Toronto, no mean feat given the gravitational pull so close to the centre of the universe?

    As such, its author was constrained by a bipartisan Bill that had slipped unnoticed through Parliament during the Gretzky years; it prohibiting usage of the term ‘best player in the world’ in the same paragraph as the name of any player not born on sovereign Canadian soil?

    CBC, a strict adherent to the Law, had a particularly awkward Hot Stove League saturday night as it tried to spend fifteen minutes rationalizing more nights of Datsyukian wizardry in Edmonton and Vancouver while avoiding BPITW language?

    Green was the theme but envy trumped the Shamrock, your deal…

    • hockeywithdrawal - Mar 17, 2013 at 9:56 AM

      You really ARE high!

    • steelers88 - Mar 17, 2013 at 10:24 AM

      HA! your very funny. Did you see the last game the Bruins played against the Penguins? We dominated the Bruins 2 out of the 3 PD’s. Yesterday we destroyed the Rangers and they’re “A plain mean ugly team”.

      • ishippineapples - Mar 17, 2013 at 11:57 AM

        It’ll be a good one to watch. Both teams having back-to-backs might make a difference in this one.

    • cityslicker2 - Mar 17, 2013 at 12:27 PM

      Surely you jest, are you talking about Dats? Is that the player that the Red Wings ice? The same player who had 19 goals last year, while playing on the PP all year? Matt Cooke had 19 goals last year while never playing on the PP. Now tell me what a great defensive player he is. Everyone else does. The guy has scored over 30 goals only TWICE in his career. He might be the best Trap team player of all time, if you enjoy watching that type of game, personally i’d rather watch paint dry.

    • desertfan - Mar 17, 2013 at 1:21 PM

      Anyone who knows hockey would agree that Crosby is all alone as #1 in the game.

      Then 10 guys like Stamkos, Malkin, etc fighting for #2 but a far distant #2.

  4. thehighcountrybear - Mar 17, 2013 at 8:10 AM

    And Bruins…if they didn’t already carry Boston-sized chip on their shoulders, some wag out in lotus land had to compile a collection of Bruins’ dive-craft [ might as well poke a grizzly with a pointy stick in mid-March ]?

    The fool pretty much guaranteed the Bruins a ragged and bloodied path to the Cup Final; woe be to the likes of Canadiens and Penguins who get in the way!

    And you don’t tug on Superman’s cape
    You don’t spit into the wind
    You don’t pull the mask off that old Lone Ranger
    And you don’t mess around with Bruins…

  5. csilojohnson - Mar 17, 2013 at 9:58 AM

    Datsyuk is Not the best player in the world. Not even close. highcountrybear you sir, are very strange…….

  6. ironcity6pak - Mar 17, 2013 at 10:18 AM

    Just another Crosby and pens hater from that drawn out explanation of one game that will be forgotten after today in the earlier post. See how I can do it. Guess he has forgotten about the blown 3 goal lead with 7 min remaining last week.
    Now, I am concerned about the pens D but let’s hope they can make trade for a D pair for letang. Flower looks better but time will tell.

  7. jpelle82 - Mar 17, 2013 at 10:32 AM

    rangers barely put up a fight and the pens should be plenty rested going into this one 24 hrs later. bruins got an easy win but got banged around a bit. both playing on back to back games. 2nd time bruins face the pens on the 2nd game of back to back – advantage penguins due to easier game yesterday.

  8. zetaone - Mar 17, 2013 at 11:03 AM

    4 games Sunday
    2 Blacked out nationally from GCL

    Thank you capitalism!

  9. govtminion - Mar 17, 2013 at 11:08 AM

    Depends on how the Bruins play this one. If they play the way they did last time- score early, then sit back and let the Penguins back in- they’re toast. I hope they learned that given enough time and space, the Pens are just too good on offense to play that kind of game, they WILL find a way to score goals. If they keep pressure on, I think they can win this one. With the recent Bruins though, it’s anyone’s guess if we’ll see the bullies that beat up the Caps yesterday, or the meek ones that lost to the Pens and Caps last week.

    • hockeywithdrawal - Mar 17, 2013 at 1:05 PM

      Evidently their strategy was to let the Pens score first and then start playing hockey. Fine by me. I thought that game against the Caps was embarassing for hockey yesterday, a bunch of goons on the ice chasing Hendricks around not even looking for the puck…two of them challenging him at once….GOONS.

  10. tlndma - Mar 17, 2013 at 11:48 AM

    This game will not determine who wins come May or June. It should be very entertaining and the two different styles are fun to watch go against each other.
    If Boston’s Krecji line plays like it did yesterday(big IF with their inconsistency)the Pittsburgh defensemen are in for a tough afternoon.

  11. rogersjd16 - Mar 17, 2013 at 11:58 AM

    How nice of NHL schedule makers to give Bruins both games in Pittsburgh on back end back to back…

    • hockeywithdrawal - Mar 17, 2013 at 1:01 PM

      It’s part of the whole “Bettman wants Crosby to win and everyone else to lose” conspiracy. Man I never get tired of the whiney BS…honestly. It’s entertaining.

      Pens had a game yesterday too. But I’m sure we’ll all find a way to say it’s not as bad for them. Because……………

  12. shortsxit34 - Mar 17, 2013 at 12:13 PM

    Not only is this Boston’s second back-to-back this week in Pittsburgh, but this is Boston’s fifth game in seven days. This has to be an extremely tired team, and the rest of the month gets no easier with no more than one day off between gamss until the very end of the month.

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