PITTSBURGH – Greetings from a city awash in St. Patrick’s Day Green. The Bruins are back for a second time in less than a week to face the red-hot (eight wins in a row) Penguins, led by the league’s top scorer, Sidney Crosby (12-35–47).
The Bruins easily rubbed out the Caps, 4-1, Saturday afternoon at the Garden for their second straight win, and fifth in their last six starts. The Penguin spent the day tuning up here with a matinee win, 3-0, over the freefalling Rangers.
This is the start of an up-tempo four-game roadie for the Bruins, with stops ahead in Winnipeg (Tuesday), Ottawa (Thursday) and Toronto (Saturday). The Jets edged the Leafs in Toronto on Saturday, but it took until Round 10 of a shootout.
Boston’s top line of Milan Lucic, David Krejci and Nathan Horton finally scraped off a thick layer of rust Saturday and finished with a work line of 2-7–9 on a total of six shots. Krejci and Horton had the goals, while Lucic delivered a season-high three helpers.
Puck drop: 12:30 p.m.
Record: Bruins, 19-4-3; Penguins, 21-8-0.
TV/radio info: NBC-TV, Ch. 7; 98.5 The Sports Hub (Dave Goucher, Bob Beers).
Milan Lucic-David Krejci-Nathan Horton
Brad Marchand-Patrice Bergeron-Tyler Seguin
Jay Pandolfo-Rich Peverley-Jordan Caron
Dan Paille-Greg Campbell-Shawn Thornton
Zdeno Chara-Johnny Boychuk
Dennis Seidenberg-Dougie Hamilton
Andrew Ference-Adam McQuaid
Healthy scratches: Aaron Johnson (D), Lane MacDermid.
Storylines: The Bruins still need some production from a the newly-formed third line with Peverley moved to the middle now that Chris Kelly is sidelined with a fractured tibia. Of course, third-line production only becomes critical when the top two lines aren’t popping. The No. 1 line’s big day Saturday vs. the Caps took off some of the heat … Rask (14 wins, .930 save pct) is back in net, and without much fanfare he has shimmied his way into the Vezina discussion … Always fun to see Team Canada pals (gold in Vancouver in 2010) Bergeron and Crosby on the ice together. Two of the most complete, diligent pivots in the game. Crosby is a more robust offensive force, Bergeron slightly better at the defensive and faceoff game … Crosby and teammate Chris Kunitz are 1-2 in league scoring with 47 and 39 points, respectively. Fellow Pens James Neal (29) and Kris Letang (28) also are among the league’s top 20 scorers. Bergeron and Krejci each lead the Bruins with 24 points, tied at 33d overall in the league … California-born Beau Bennett led off the scoring for the Pens Saturday vs. the Rangers. Bennett, the 20th pick overall in the 2010 draft, played two seasons at the University of Denver before turning pro over the summer … Northeastern’s Joe Vitale has struggled (0-2–2 and minus-8) in 24 games with the Pens this season … Look for Chara to be on the ice every time Crosby’s out there, too. Big Z after Saturday ranked 21st overall in ice time with a 24:36 average. Sid the Kid has been logging 21:39. Bergeron is Boston’s leading forward at 19:06.