Pittsburgh (15-11-3) at Boston (16-9-4)
When: Wednesday, December 16th 2015
Where: TD Garden, Boston, MA
Time: 8:05 ET | TV: NBC Sports
The slumping and hurting Pittsburgh Penguins visit the Boston Bruins on Wednesday to open a home-and-home set over the next three days. The Penguins have lost six of eight overall and have lost goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury for a while after he suffered a concussion in Monday’s 4-1 loss to the Capitals. Jeff Zatkoff will get the nod Wednesday in place of Fleury. Zatkoff has played in five games this season and has a 2.43 GAA and .936 SV%, but hasn’t won a game in over a month. Winger Beau Bennett, who has 5 goals and 5 assists this season, will miss four-to-six weeks with an upper body injury suffered against Washington on Monday. Defenseman Kris Letang, who is tied for the team lead in assists with 13, was placed on IR on Tuesday. Pittsburgh recalled forwards Kevin Porter and Conor Sheary, as well as goaltender Matt Murray, from Wilkes-Barre/Scranton of the American Hockey League. Sidney Crosby, who scored a point in eight of nine games, has been held scoreless in the last two, while Evgeni Malkin has scored in back-to-back games. Malkin has recorded 30 points (14 goals, 16 assists) in 26 career meetings with the Bruins.
The Bruins are coming off a 3-2 overtime loss at home against Edmonton, but have recorded a point in 11 of their last 12 games (8-1-3). Left winger Brad Marchand continued to stay hot with another goal on Monday – his fifth in the last six games. Marchand leads the team with 15 goals, but centers David Krejci and Patrice Bergeron lead in points with identical 9 goals, 20 assists numbers. Goalie Tuukka Rask got off to an awful start this season losing 9 of his first 14 games, but has gone 6-0-2 since yielding only 12 goals during that eight game stretch. Boston is still hanging on to the final playoff spot in the East with New Jersey, just one point ahead of Tampa Bay and two clear of Florida. The Bruins have picked up the goal scoring recently, putting at least 3 goals in net in seven of the last ten games and are second in the league with 3.2 goals per game.
It’s hard to stop a hot goalie and Rask is just that. The Penguins are really banged up and new coach Mike Sullivan has yet to light a fire on this team. I’ll take Boston tonight.
Pick: Bruins -150