Boston at Pittsburgh
When: 7:30 PM ET, Wednesday, December 14, 2016
Where: PPG PAINTS Arena, Pittsburgh, Penn
PITTSBURGH – (Wire Service Preview by Sports XChange for Digital Sports Desk) – The top two goal scorers in the National Hockey League will go head-to-head when the white-hot Pittsburgh Penguins host the Boston Bruins on Wednesday night. The reigning Stanley Cup champions, led by superstar captain Sidney Crosby, are on an offensive rampage, outscoring the opposition by a staggering 35-14 margin during their six-game winning streak.
Seven players scored, including Crosby’s league-leading 21st goal, as Pittsburgh improved to 6-0-0 in December with a 7-0 mauling of the Arizona Coyotes on Monday. “I mean when you’re winning, it’s fun,” Crosby said. “I think we’ve done a good job of limiting other team’s chances. When you’re doing that, you’re creating offense and giving yourself a chance, so I think we’ve done a good job at that.” Boston halted a three-game skid with a 2-1 overtime victory at NHL-best Montreal on Monday and will be trying to pull off a sweep of two of the most dominant home teams in the league. David Pastrnak, whose previous career high for goals was 15 last season, is second to Crosby with 18 tallies in 25 games.
TV: 7:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN
ABOUT THE BRUINS (16-12-2): While Pastrnak has emerged as a surprising offensive leader, goaltender Tuukka Rask is the backbone for a team that has scored 33 fewer goals than Pittsburgh. Montreal has been virtually invincible on its home ice and has been a particular nemesis for Rask, who earned a confidence-boosting victory by beating the Canadiens for only the sixth time in 24 decisions. “It was nice to see (him) win this duel and stand tall for us,” Bruins coach Claude Julien said after Rask lowered his goals-against average to 1.80.
ABOUT THE PENGUINS (19-7-3): Crosby was forced to sit out the first six games of the season while dealing with concussion symptoms, but he has been on a ridiculous pace since his return with 21 goals in 23 contests — that latest tally coming off a swat of a puck in mid-air. Crosby has a team-high 32 points but his blazing start has overshadowed the offensive prowess of Evgeni Malkov and Phil Kessel, who each have 31 points. Matt Murray missed nearly the first three weeks of the season but is 11-2-0 with a 1.84 GAA since his return.
1. The Penguins are the first team to amass 35 goals during a six-game stretch since the Ottawa Senators in 2005-06.
2. Boston has killed off all 17 short-handed situations in the past six games, but is in a 1-for-20 slump with the man advantage.
3. Although the Penguins have five power-play goals in the past two games, they ranked 27th in the league on the penalty kill.