-The reason tonight's game is on at 8 p.m. is pretty obvious. It's for television. That's understandable and acceptable. Television drives everything in sports these days and that's how you best promote a product like the NHL. But it doesn't excuse NBC and the NHL from outright lying to you.
-In recent days, the NBC and NHL have been promoting this game and these two teams as rivals. We're not sure what "officially" makes a rivalry, but if here are any criteria for being a rivalry, these teams do not meet them.
-First, there is little history, relatively speaking, between the Penguins and Bruins. Yes, there have been three Wales/Eastern Conference final meetings between the two teams over the span of 23 years. And yes, there have been some heated individual moments between the likes of Ulf Samuelsson and Cam Neely as well as Matt Cooke and Marc Savard. But there has been very little in the way of sustained heat between the two teams.
-Obviously the Jarome Iginla trade last season is an intriguing storyline to whatever exists between these two teams, but that still doesn't make it a rivalry.
-If we made a list of the Penguins' biggest rivals, it would be:
6.) The IRS
-All of those teams have a rivalries with the Penguins based on being Patrick Division brethren and having a fairly close regional connection. With the IRS, they've gone bankrupt a handful of times.
-If you want to base a rivalry on history, the Blues are more of a rival with the Penguins than the Bruins. They were division rivals following the 1967 expansion and early on in the lives of those franchise, they fought... a lot.
-The Whalers are more of a rival with the Bruins ... and they've been dead for over 15 years.
-Tonight's game is merely a high-profile matchup between two very good teams with several star players. The squads just happened to meet in a one-side conference final less than six months ago.
-If NBC and the NHL wanted to be honest with you (snicker), they would call this "Wednesday Night Teams Which Generate Solid Television Ratings."
-Given that the Red Sox are in Game 6 of the World Series tonight, those ratings might take a hit.
-As far as the players are concern, most of them dismissed any notion of a rivalry over the past two days. Will the Penguins maybe have a little extra drive to beat the team that ended their season? Yes, but this is just an early regular-season game to the 40 players who will dress tonight.
-Iginla has heated up as of late having scored a few goals in his last two games. He got off to a slow start this season. Today, he cited the feeling out period of being on a new team and his natural tendencies to start slowly in October for his scant offensive production. If he truly gets rolling, his line with David Krejci and Milan Lucic could be one of the five best in the NHL.
-Krejci is criminally underrated as a player. If he played on a team which was a little more aggressive on offense, he would regularly clear 80 points a season. He's such a crafty player with the puck.
-We're curious to see how the Penguins' second lines shake out tonight, specifically with the right wing. We could see Jayson Megna and Matt D'Agostini alternating a bit as they did Monday against the Hurricanes.
-D'Agostini is a shooter. No one will ever confuse him with James Neal, but he has a solid release and he's not afraid to put it on net. As we've written before, he's similar to his friend, Tyler Kennedy.
-We're still trying to get a feel on Jayson Megna (6-foot-1, 195 pounds). He has speed and he seems to know how to use it. And despite his modest size, he's not afraid to go near the net.
-The Fifth Avenue entrance of Consol Energy Center is bathed in purple light for the Hockey Fights Cancer initiative:
-Dr. Love is here:
-Gone (temporarily) but not forgotten, Rob Scuderi:
-Boston native Phil Bourque:
-Evgeni Malkin Metallurg Magnitogorsk:
-Someone with a place in the history of this "rivalry:"
-Here's a true rival or the Bruins. Ron Francis Whalers:
-Fans entering the barn:
-There are a handful of Bruins fans here. Tim Thomas:
-A few former PEnguins/Bruins are represented here tonight. Jaromir Jagr:
-The first all-star goaltender in franchise history, Michel Dion:
-Jersey of the Night: Jarome Iginla:
-The Penguins wore purple jerseys for warm-ups for the Hockey Fights Cancer initiative.
-The Penguins' starters are Craig Adams, Tanner Glass, Brandon Sutter, Matt Niskanen, Kris Letang and Marc-Andre Fleury.
-Their scratches are Matt D'Agostini, Chuck Kobasew and Rob Scuderi.
-D'Agostini is a surprise. Deryk Engelland will presumably take on a forward position in place of D'Agsotini.
-The Bruins' starters are Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand, Reilly Smith, Zdeno Chara, Dennis Seidenberg and Tuukka Rask.
-Their scratches are Matt Bartkowski and Loui Eriksson.
-Jeff Jimerson is a rival with no one. ... only because no one is his equal:
19:46: Seidenberg has a partial one-timer from the left half wall blocked by Letang.
17:47: Marchand pushes the puck up the right wing wall but is kind of washed out on the play by Letang and Olli Maatta who knock him over at the Penguins' blue line.
17:42: With a stoppage in play Megna retreats to the dressing room with athletic trainer Chris Stewart.
15:14: Malkin races up the right wing, blows by Torey Krug and attacks the net. His goes low with a forehand shot but Rask fights it off.
14:46: Reilly Smith gets a chance in the right circle but whips a wrister wide on the near side.
12:12: Malkin gets another chance off the right. wing. Taking a pass from Letang, he breaks in on a partial breakaway and lifts a writer which Rask punches away with his blocker.
10:52: Off a little feed from Kunitz in the slot, Dupuis lifts a wrister which Rask eats up.
9:46: Seidenberg flings a wrister from the right half wall on net which gets blocked.
9:35: Bergeron lifts a wrister from the right half wall which Fleury snags.
8:31: Wide on the right wing, Brandon Sutter snaps off a wrister which Rask boots out.
7:21: Off a cross-ice two-line pass by Jokinen, Malkin races in off the left wing and tires to cut inside Dougie Hamilton. Hamilton knocks the puck off his blade. Megna is able to follow up on the rebound and jabs it on net. Rask kicks it out.
6:55: Megna releases a low wrister from the right circle which Rask kicks out.
4:57: A slapper by Megan off the left wing is blocked by Adam McQuaid.
4:27: Niskanen chops a one-timer from the right point which is blocked by Chris Kelly.
4:18: Malkin digs out a puck on the Bruins' end boards and backhands a pass above the blue paint. Megna is there but his forehand shot is rejected by Rask.
3:52: Hamiton chops a slapper from the right point.s It his a body and is skated out of danger by Adams.
2:57: Krug pumps a slapper from teh right poitn which Sutter squares up and blocks.
2:19: Niskanen whips a wrister from the left point. It hits off the end boards and bounces into the back of Rask's who falls backwards and just sits on the puck to freeze it. Kuntiz Crosby have a chance at eh rebound but can't get a clean shot off.
1:59: Kunitz flings a wrister from the left half wall which Rask gloves easily.
1:16: Crosby slams Johnny Boychuk to the ice off the left wing wall of the Bruins' zone.
0:42: Malkin sneaks up the right wing wall and from below the goal line flicks a backhanded pass to Megna streakign down the slot. Their timing is a bit off and the pass fails to connect.
0:02: Letang jostles Iginal to the ice in the Penguins' right circle with a body check while battling for a puck.
0:00: End of period. Bruins 0, Penguins 0.
-Malkin was outstanding that period. He probably had more five-on-five chances in that period than he's had in the previous three games. He seems to be generating a little chemistry with Megna.
-The only reason Malkin doesn't have a goal is Rask. He's been lights out.
-The Bruins seemed to do a good job of hemming in Crosby's line.
-This game has been played mostly in the neutral zone. There really hasn't been a lot of sustained pressure in either offensive zone.
-Defensively, the Penguins have been good at collapsing around Fleury. Not a lot of clean shots by the Bruins are getting on net.
-Despite this being a "rivalry," there really hasn't been a ton of hitting or extracurricular stuff after the whistle.
-The Penguins lead the game in shots on net, 13-6.
-The Penguins lead in attempted shots, 27-16.
-Dupuis leads the game with three shots.
-Kelly leads the Bruins with two.
-Letang leads the game with 8:35 of ice time.
-Krug leads the game with 7:21 of ice time.
-The Bruins lead the game in faceoffs, 9-7 (56 percent).
-The great Joe Vitale is 3 for 3 (100 percent).
-Bergeron is 4 for 5 (80 percent).
-Niskanen leads the game with two blocked shots.
18:48: Kunitz races up the left wing one-on-one with Boychuk who fends him off the puck. Great play by Boychuk.
18:34: Bergeron tries to feed Marchand with a little pass in the slot but Paul Martin leans down to block it.
17:50: Luci has a wrister from the right point which is blocked by Maatta.
17:41: Of a give an goes, Mega snaps of a wfrom the right wing. Rask kicks it out. Jokinen follows up on the rebound but puts his shot wide off the end boards. Megna treis to t uck in the rebound but no dice.
16:00: Letang lifts a wrister from deep on the right wing. Rask shoulders it away.
14:54: Marchand challenges Orpik one-on-one down the slot and is sort of power-bombed to the ice by Orpik.
14:02: Glass bumps inot Lucic on the right wing boards of the Penguins' zone as a whistle sounds. Lucic responds with a shove. A few pleasantries are exchanged but nothing comes of it.
13:45: The Penguins get the first power play of the game as Lucic is nabbed for interference against Glass. Malkin, Crosby, Kunitz, Martin and Letang take the ice.
13:35: Letang plays a puck fom the right half half wall to Kunitz above the blue paint. Kunitz tries to jam in a handful of backhanders which Rask kicks out.
13:06: Go to the net and and things will happen. Crosby controls the puck at the top of the right circle and plays it to the slot. Letang redirects it on net where it strikes Kunitz in the mid-section. The puck plops to the ice between Kunitz's skates and he backhands it between his legs and through Rask's five hole. Not a pretty goal but it counts. Letang and Crosby get assists. The "Hey Song" is always pretty. Penguins 1-0.
11:29: Letang whips a wrister from the left half wall which Rask kicks out.
10:03: Krug booms a slapper from the right point wide to the far side.
9:18: Martin tries to play a puck at the Boston blue line but takes a tumble. That creates a breakaway of sorts for Daniel Paille who races up the right wing. As Orpik closes in, Paille release a wrister. Fleury challenges and eats it up. Martin heads back to the dressing room after the stoppage.
8:51: Crosby lifts a wrister from the left wing on net. Rask fights it off.
8:26: Crosby has chance in the left circle. He seems to have an acre of ice to work with as he releases a slapper but Chara, with his poor skimmer of a stick, blocks it wide.
7:57: Bergeron coasts in off the right wing with the puck on his backhand. Getting a step on Letang, he lifts a wrister which Fleury battles away. There's a scramble for the rebound but the Penguins get it out of danger.
7:46: Megna snaps off a rising wrister from the left circle. Rask fights it off.
6:00: With Martin unavailable, Engelland takes a shift with Orpik.
5:57: Coming back from commercial, NBC shows Dupuis doing a little self-dentistry after a collision with Carl Soderberg.
5:07: The Bruins have a chance to even it up as Kunitz tripped up Krejci on the right wing boards of the Penguins' zone. That's two minutes. Orpik, Martin Adams and the great Joe Vitale take the ice.
4:39: Off a little pass by Hamilton, Bergeron lifts a wrister from above the right circle which Fleury rejects.
3:57: Krug lifts a wrister from center point. Chara is above the blue paint and re-directs it on net. Fleury bodies it down and covers to freeze play. Bortuzzo tries to tie up Chara's stick and gets a bit of a cross check to the neck for his troubles.
3:12: A scrum breaks out at the Penguins' bench. Krug and Crosby sort of collided as the Penguins' blue line. Play progressed up ice and Crosby sort of attacked Krug. A gathering ensued. Officials stepped in and broke it up. Crosby and Krug got offsetting roughing minors. Play remains five-on-four.
3:07: The Kunitz minor expires. The Bruins had a few decent chances there.
1:52: Off a turnover by the Bruins in their own zone Jokinen has a chance in the slot which is partially blocked.
1:12: The minors to Crosby and Krug expires but they must remain in the box until the next stoppage.
0:58: Attendance is announced as 18,627. It is the team's 294th consecutive sellout.
0:00: End of period. As play expires, Malkin and Iginla battle for a puck at the right half wall. The echange a few shoves but the former linemates head to their benches before anything escalates. Penguins 1, Bruins 0.
-Things picked up a bit that period in terms of scoring chances. Both squads took a few more chances and pressured the goaltenders a little more.
-Each squad getting a power play helped open things up too.
-Fleury was tested a lot more and came through with a few tough saves, especially on the Chara re-direction on the power play.
-Martin only missed a shift or two after taking a tumble near his bench.
-The hitting also picked up a bit that periods.
-The Penguins continue to collapse around Fleury quite a bit.
-Here's Dupuis displaying a little self dentistry:
-The Penguins have a 22-17 lead in shots on net.
-The Penguins have a 41-35 lead in attempted shots.
-Dupuis and Bergeron each lead the game with four blocked shots.
-Letang leads the game with 15:51 of ice time.
-Chara is right behind him with 15:42.
-The Bruins have a 17-13 lead in faceoffs (57 percent).
-Bergeron is 7 for 11 (64 percent).
-The great Joe Vitale is 3 for 5 (60 percent).
-Niskanen leads the game with four blocked shots.
-Hamilton leads the Bruins with two blocked shots.
20:00: Crosby starts the period with Dupuis and Glass on his wings.
18:55: Tie game. Seidenbeg whacks a loose puck at the left point. Bergeron has position on Niskanen in the lower part o the left circle and redirects the puck through his legs and by u's right shoulder on the near side. What a play! Seidenberg and Marchand get assists. Bruins 1, Penguins 1.
18:37: Off a faceoff in the Penguins right circle. Bortuzzo and Caron exchange pleasantries and drop the gloves. Caron has an early advantage but Bortuzzo just uses his superior size to start pummeling Caron. They tire out and officials step in. As Bortuzzo is escorted to the penalty box, McQuaid exchanges a shove with him but officials break that up. Not sure what sparked that fight.
16:50: Gregory Campbell plays a puck from inside their own blue line in hopes of springing Paille on a breakaway. There's a little too much on the pass and Paille is in a race for it with Fleury. Fleury slides out of his creas into the left circle and plays it away. Great play. Fans offer "FLEERRRR-EEEEE!" chants in appreciation.
15:06: Kunitz pounds Boychuk into the right wing boards of the Penguins' zone.
14:47: After Chara losea puck left point of the Penguins' zone, Crosby pokes it up ice in hopes of a partial breakaway. He moves in off the right wing. He lifts a wrister from the right circle. Rask knocks it down and covers. Crosby jabs for a rebound. Rask takes exception and gives Crosby the business. A scrum develops behind the Boston net. Nothing comes of it.
14:32: Adams tries to sweep a backhanded wraparound from the right of the cage. Rask smothers it.
12:56: Off some perimeter passing, Krug flings a wrister from the left point. It hits off a skate and bounces to the blue paint. Fleury covers to freeze play.
11:32: Shawn Thornton has a chance in tight and chops a backhander over the cage.
11:21: Glass releases a low wrister from the right circle. Rask fights it off.
11:17: The Penguin get a chance to take a lead as Thornton hits Glass from behind into the right corner boards of the Bruins' zone. That's two minutes for boarding. Letang, Malkin, Crosby Kunitz and Martin tah the ice.
10:48: More penalties. Marchand hip checked Letang at the Boston blue line just away from the puck. Letang takes a tumble. Marchand is called for slashing while Letang is nabbed for embellishment. That's a terrible call on both accounts. The Penguins will still have a five-on-four power play for 1:31.
9:58: After Rask fumbles a puck behind his own net, Jokinen has a chance to the right of the cage but hurries his shot and is off the mark.
9:00: Brandon Sutter to the rescue. Taking a pass, he races up the right wing, blows by Krug who is caught flat-footed and bears in on net from the right wing circle and rips a sick wrister by Rask on the far side by his blocker. Sutter has a knack for big goals against the Bruins. Dupuis and Orpik get assists. The "Hey Song" is played. Penguins 2-1.
6:41: Maatta whacks a slapper from the right point high of the cage.
4:05: Crosby release a wrister form the slot. Seidenerg get a piece of it. Dupuis battles for the puck int he left circle but is slammed to the ice by Boychuk. Dupuis is still able to whack the puck on net from his back side. Rask turns it away.
3:30: Glass is getting another shift with Crosby.
2:20: Game. Set. Match. A hustle play by the great Joe Vitale forces Boychuk into a turnover in this own left wing corner. Jokinen intercepts his pass to Bergeron in the left circle, reverses direction and lifts a wrister by the blocker of Rask on the near side. What sick snipe. That was create solely by the effort to the Great Joe Vitale. The goal is unassisted but Vitale deserves one Penguins 3-1.
1:43: The Bruins aren't going anywhere. With a faceoff win in the Penguins' right circle, a puck is played back to Iginla at center point. Iginla has his one-timer cocked and booms a shot by the blocker of Fleury. What a boomer of a shot. That makes it a one-goal game again. Fire Ray Shero. Lucic and Bergeron get assists. Penguins 3-2.
1:24: With Rask pulled Krug releases a wrister from above the right circle. Fleury eats it up. The Bruins call a time out to get organized.
0:02: Off a cross-ice feed, Krejci has a chance in the left circle. Fleury is able to slide to his right and fights off the shot.
0:00: End of game. Penguins 3, Bruins 2.
-For an October "rivalry" game was pretty stale for the first 40 minutes, this contest turned out to be quite the electrifying affair as the night wore on. After feeling each other out and waiting for one another to make mistakes most of the contest, things opened up quite a bit in the third period and it created some intense drama.
-The story of the game was mistakes. Both teams made them. The Penguins just did a better job of capitalizing on the Bruins' errors and they did it at key times, namely, in the third period.
-First, Brandon Sutter. He made a wonderful play to poke a puck by Torey Krug at the Boston blue line then ripped a sizzling wrister by Rask on the far side for the go-ahead goal.
-For whatever reason, Sutter has had success against the Bruins his his brief Penguins career. He had the game-tying and game-winning goals in a 3-2 win at home against the Bruins March 12. That game kept a winning streak alive at six games.
-Then, he also scored a goal in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference final which gave the Penguins a heart beat after going down 3-0 early.
-This was Sutter tonight:
-Like that game, Sutter went far blocker side from the right circle on Rask. Maybe he knows something.
-Sutter's goal was his first of the season. He is a streaky scorer but when he scores, more often than not, they are big goals.
-As far as Jussi Jokinen's goal was concerned, give a lot of credit to the great Joe Vitale. Johnny Boychuk denied it but it seemed like Vitale forced him to make an early pass . It hit off Jordan Caron's stick in the left circle and allowed Jokinen to snap off a wrister by Rask's blocker side each time.
-We like the game Evgeni Malkin had today. He create a lot by simply going to the net and attacking Rask. He had an outstanding effort tonight.
-The Penguins special teams came through tonight. It produced a power-play goal and blanked the Bruins on their only chance.
-Don't discount Marc-Andre Fleury's effort tonight. He was sharp, especially as a the game wore on. He made several tough saves including a side-to-side steal on David Krejci as time expires. His role int his win was huge.
-The Penguins collapsed around their own cage quite a bit tonight. It wasn't quite John Tortorella/Dale Hunter levels of collapsing, but they packed it in quite a bit and really prevented the Bruins from generating much down low, at least early on.
-Kris Letang came through with another composed and mostly error-free game.
-Tanner Glass was strong as well as drew two penalties which led to power-play chances. He earned a few shifts on the top line in the third period.
-Rask was pretty sharp, other than the Sutter goal, he was oustanding and even appeared to frustrate the Penguins a bit.
-Jarome Iginla had the one goal late in regulation but that came with the goaltender pulled. His line with Krejci and Lucic was pretty tame tonight.
-Dustin Jeffrey had 8:14 of ice time tonight on 11 shifts and did not record any sort of official real-time statistic like a shot, hit or blocked shot.
-The Penguins led in shots on net, 31-23.
-The Penguins led in attempted shots, 55-51.
-Patrice Bergeron led the game with five shots.
-Pascal Dupuis, Jayson Megna and Sidney Crosby each led the Penguins with four shots.
-Paul Martin led the game with 26:09 of ice time.
-Zdeno Chara led the Bruins with 24:43.
-The Bruins had a 30-23 advantage in faceoffs (57 percent).
-Bergeron was 13 for 20 (65 percent).
-Crosby was 12 for 15 (48 percent).
-Matt Niskanen led the game with four blocked shots.
-Dougie Hamilton led the game with three blocked shots.
-Bobby Orrpik has four points in his past two games.