The Pittsburgh Penguins (24-11-2) game is blooming. They have won five in a row and built upon their dominant March, which included 12 wins. The Penguins surge created a three-way tie atop the East Division with the New York Islanders and Washington Capitals. The Penguins Saturday afternoon opponent, the Boston Bruins (18-10-5), trails the Penguins by nine points but has five games in hand.
The puck drops at 1 p.m.
The Penguins are flying while the Bruins are…decidedly not. Boston head coach Bruce Cassidy said he is “disappointed” in his team.
Our colleagues at Boston Hockey Now have the full story of Cassidy’s disappointment, but not everyone is sure Boston played poorly in the Penguins 4-1 win on Thursday.
Agreed. I was having a hard time last night gauging how much was the Bruins not having it, and how much was the Penguins just playing a really good game in their style https://t.co/KeQ7qyd0UZ
— Joe Haggerty (@HackswithHaggs) April 2, 2021
I thought Penguins fans might like to see two veteran Bruins reporters seeing what you hope to be true.
Penguins center Teddy Blueger was a full participant in practice on Friday, and Tristan Jarry also returned to the ice after a couple of days off. Head coach Mike Sullivan said the team would make a decision on Jarry on Saturday morning.
UPDATE: Jarry will NOT dress for the game. Blueger remains on IR. Maxime Lagace will again back up DeSmith.
Also, The Penguins sent Radim Zohorna back to the WBS Penguins and recalled Justin Almeida and Will Reilly to the taxi squad.
Jarry earned the win on Monday at home against the New York Islanders despite making just five saves and playing only the first period. His record is 15-8-2 with a .910 save percentage and a 2.79 GAA.
Casey DeSmith stopped 30 of 31 shots on Thursday for his ninth win.
Boston also lost a couple of defensemen on Thursday night. Brandon Carlo and Kevan Miller will be out, as will starting goalie Tuuka Rask.
Pittsburgh Penguins Lines & Special Teams
|Jake Guentzel||Sidney Crosby||Bryan Rust|
|Jason Zucker||Evgeni Malkin||Kasperi Kapanen|
|Jared McCann||Jeff Carter||Freddy Gaudreau|
|Zach Aston-Reese||Teddy Blueger||Brandon Tanev|
|Brian Dumoulin||Kris Letang|
|Mike Matheson||Cody Ceci|
|Marcus Pettersson||John Marino|
|Brad Marchand||Patrice Bergeron||David Pastrnak|
|Taylor Hall||David Krejci||Craig Smith|
|Nick Ritchie||Sean Kuraly||Charlie Coyle|
|Trent Frederic||Curtis Lazar||Chris Wagner|
|Matt Grzelczyk||Charlie McAvoy|
|Mike Reilly||Kevan Miller|
|Jeremy Lauzon||Steve Kampher|
|TEAM||Power Play||Penalty Kill|
|Pittsburgh Penguins||23.7%, 4th NHL||77.4%, 27th NHL|
|New York Islanders||18.8%, 21st NHL||83.7%, 6th NHL|
What to Watch
The Penguins loosened Boston with a hard forecheck game in the first period. The Penguins were able to gain possession and played hard in the corners. As Boston played backward to defend, the Penguins opened their rush game, too.
Forecheck, backcheck, paycheck. The Penguins outskated Boston in the first game and did so overwhelmingly.
Boston’s physicality was inconsequential because the Penguins largely owned the game. Boston mustered just two shots in the first period.
The Penguins’ confidence was on full display, as well. Less than two minutes after Boston pulled to within 2-1, the Penguins increased their attack and scored the backbreaking third goal.
How will the Penguins react if Boston gets to the physical game early and generates energy? Can this run continue?
Pittsburgh Penguins Game Notes
Position, Player (Consecutive Games Missed, Total Games Missed)
D Mark Friedman (15 consecutive, 15 total)
F Teddy Blueger (9 consecutive, 9 total)
F Evgeni Malkin (8 consecutive, 8 total)
F Kasperi Kapanen (4 consecutive, 4 total)
G Tristan Jarry (1 consecutive, 1 total)
Total Regular-Season Man-Games Lost: 198
*Penguins are looking for back-to-back wins in Boston for the first time since Apr. 3, 2012 (5-3 W) and Apr. 20, 2013 (3-2 W).
*24 wins this season are tied for second-most in the NHL behind the Tampa Bay Lightning (25).
*The Penguins are 11-2-1 in their last 14 games.
*Defenseman Mike Matheson is one point shy of 100 in his career.
*Thirteen different Penguins have scored a goal, and 19 have recorded a point during their five-game winning streak, while six players have multiple goals.
*The Penguins have allowed just seven goals in their last five games.
*Among all goaltenders with at least 10 games played, Casey Desmith ranks first in the NHL with a .933 save percentage and trails only Colorado’s Phillip Grubauer with a 1.84 goals-against average.
*Mike Matheson has three points (1G-2A) in the past two games.
How to Watch
TV: AT&T SportsNet, NHL Network
Radio: 105.9 The X