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Ice Breakers: Bruins-Penguins, Saturday 11-14

The Bruins (8-7-3) will see their first repeat opponent of the young NHL season Saturday night, as they travel to the Steel City to face off against Sidney Crosby and the Pittsburgh Penguins (12-7-0).

Pittsburgh is in the midst of a 4-game losing streak, following their home defeat to the Devils Thursday night. This past Tuesday, Tim Thomas and the Bruins shut out the Pens, 3-0 at TD Garden. Pittsbugh, who started the season hot with a 9-1-0 record, have lost 6 of their last 9.

Boston will skate five of their next six games away from home beginning Saturday. Having faced Pittsburgh on Tuesday, the two teams won’t see each other again until two meetings in mid-March.

Here now, a few more newsworthy notes heading into the game in Pittsburgh…

  • Pittsburgh has dropped out of the Atlantic Division lead for the first time this season. After their defeat at the hands of the red hot Devils, New Jersey has a two-point advantage in the standings.
  • The loss Thursday night for Pittsburgh was the first under head coach Dan Bylsma with the Pens scoring first. The Pens were 22-0-2 overall with the early goal advantage under Bylsma, and 8-0 this season before Thursday.
  • The Pens may welcome back scoring machine Evgeni Malkin to their lineup in this game. Malkin (4G, 10A) has been sidelined since October 28th with a shoulder injury.
  • Leading the scoring for the Penguins is all-world centerman Sidney Crosby, who has nine goals and eight assists thus far this season. He does have only one assist since October 30th.
  • The return of Malkin may help snap a woeful 0-for-25 power play streak for Pittsburgh. The team hasn’t scored on the man-advantage in 7 games.
  • Even with Malkin’s possible return, the Penguins still have a significant amount of injured members of their roster. Defensemen Sergei Gonchar (broken wrist) and Brooks Orpik (lower body injury) will remain sidelined for the next 10-14 days, while Max Talbot (shoulder) and Kris Letang (shoulder) should return in the next week or so.
  • In net, the Pens feature Marc-Andre Fleury (10-6-0, 2.52GAA) and backup Brent Johnson (2-1-0, 2.38GAA).
  • For Boston, it was a nice sight to see at Friday’s practice, as winger Milan Lucic returned to practice with the team for the first time since his broken finger. Lucic is hoping to return to game action later this week, targeting Thursday’s contest in Atlanta.
  • On a positive note for the good guys, the Bruins are 5-1-0 on Saturdays so far this year. They are 3-6-3 otherwise.

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