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Down to Three; Penguins Game 80 vs. Bruins: Lines, Notes & How to Watch



Pittsburgh Penguins game, Boston Bruins

The Pittsburgh Penguins’ most direct path to the playoffs is to win their final three regular-season games. Anything else will require some help from other teams.

The first step on that path comes Saturday when one of the NHL’s top teams, the Boston Bruins, visit PPG Paints Arena for a national TV game.

The Penguins (37-30-12) put their 10-game point streak (7-0-3) on the line against a Bruins (46-18-15) club that is still in contention to clinch the Atlantic Division and Eastern Conference titles and even the Presidents’ Trophy.

Game Time

The game starts a little after 8 p.m.

Penguins Preview

The Penguins regained control of their destiny in terms of clinching a playoff spot with their tense 6-5 overtime win Thursday over the Detroit Red Wings.

It wasn’t without the same bugaboos that have plagued the Penguins throughout the season – blowing leads, giving up goals after they score, giving up goals late in periods, not scoring on the power play – but it got them where they needed to be.

Defenseman Erik Karlsson, who scored the OT winner, will play in his 1,000th career game Saturday.

We’ll have to look for a new milestone for team captain Sidney Crosby to aim for. He had a goal and two assists against the Red Wings, elevating him to 10th on the NHL’s all-time scoring list with 1,591 points and giving him 1,000 assists.

Read more:

Kingerski: Nedeljkovic Pushing Jarry Aside; Future Questions Loom

Kingerski: Sidney Crosby Milestones; ‘Playing His Heart Out’

The Bruins have been off since they had their four-game winning streak snapped Tuesday in a 4-1 loss against the Carolina Hurricanes.

In addition to having a lot of home-ice scenarios to play for, Boston also can use its final few games to fine-tune for the playoffs.

One thing to figure out is whether to keep the goalie rotation with Linus Ullmark, who would be on deck for Saturday, and Jeremy Swayman or decide on a go-to guy for the postseason.

Veteran Pat Maroon is expected to make his Bruins debut. He was acquired at the trade deadline from Minnesota but has been rehabbing from back surgery. He could replace James van Riemsdyk, who has one point in the past 19 games.

Expected Penguins Lines

Reilly Smith-Sidney Crosby-Bryan Rust

Michael Bunting-Evgeni Malkin-Rickard Rakell

Drew O’Connor-Lars Eller-Valtteri Puustinen

Radim Zohorna-Jeff Carter-Emil Bemstrom


P.O Joseph-Kris Letang

Marcus Pettersson-Erik Karlsson

Ryan Shea-Jack St. Ivany


Alex Nedeljkovic

Tristan Jarry

Expected Bruins Lines

Danton Heinen-Pavel Zacha-David Pastrnak

Brad Marchand-Charlie Coyle-Morgan Geekie

Jake DeBrusk-Jesper Boqvist- Trent Frederic

Pat Maroon-John Beecher-Jakub Lauko


Hampus Lindholm-Charlie McAvoy

Matt Grzelcyk-Brandon Carlo

Parker Wotherspoon-Andrew Peeke


Linus Ullmark

Jeremy Swayman

Penguins Special Teams

Penguins power play: 14.2%, 31st

Penguins penalty kill: 80.9%, 11th

Bruins power play: 22.3%, 13th

Bruins penalty kill: 82.5%, 7th

Penguins Game Notes

The Penguins won 6-5 Jan. 4 at Boston and lost 5-1 March 9 at Boston, so this game decides the season series.

The Penguins are 9-3-1 in their past 13 home games.

Sidney Crosby has 72 points (19 goals, 53 assists) in 58 career games against the Bruins.

During the Penguins’ 10-game point streak, Crosby has 20 points (8 goals, 12 assists).

Erik Karlsson will become the 398th player in NHL history to play in 1,000 games.

How to Watch


Radio: 105.9 FM The X

Also visit sister site Boston Hockey Now