Bruins-Penguins Preview

The way the Boston Bruins are playing away from home, even a

trip to Pittsburgh might not seem too intimidating.

After opening their longest swing of the season on a positive

note, the Bruins try for a sixth consecutive road win against the

surging Penguins on Sunday.

Seventh in the Eastern Conference, Boston (29-23-11) started a

seven-game road trip with a 3-2 win over the New York Islanders on

Saturday. The Bruins have won two in a row since losing 4-1 to

Montreal on Tuesday in their first game since the Olympic

break.

“I see a bunch of guys who want to get a better finish,” said

coach Claude Julien, whose team has won six of seven heading into

their final trip ever to Mellon Arena. “It’s been a challenging

year for us to say the least. There’s an opportunity to redeem

ourselves.”

In the midst of their longest road winning streak since taking

seven straight from Dec. 12, 2008-Jan. 15, 2009, the Bruins have

scored 17 goals in their last five contests away from home.

Boston has had little trouble finding the back of the net in

recent trips to Pittsburgh, scoring 14 goals in its last three

visits. The Bruins, however, have dropped the last two meetings at

Mellon Arena, most recently 6-5 in overtime on Nov. 14.

“We need to put as many points in the bank as we can to be in

the position we want to be at the end of the season,” said Boston’s

Tim Thomas, who made 37 saves Saturday for his second straight

victory.

The Bruins will be in for a major test against the Atlantic

Division-leading Penguins (39-22-4), who are 5-0-2 at home since

falling 4-1 to Ottawa for their last regulation loss on Jan.

28.

Sidney Crosby had a goal with two assists at home against the

Bruins in November, and scored two of Pittsburgh’s five unanswered

goals in a 6-3 home win over Dallas on Saturday for the team’s

third straight win since the break.

The Penguins also rallied from two goals down to beat the New

York Rangers 5-4 in overtime on Thursday.

“The atmosphere on the bench here, basically guys are staying

positive because it’s a skilled team and everybody just knows that

we can come back and score the goals,” said Alexei Ponikarovsky,

who scored Saturday in his first game since being acquired in a

trade with Toronto on Tuesday.

Though Marc-Andre Fleury allowed three goals on the first 11

shots he faced, he could be back in goal after finishing with 27

saves against Stars. He was pulled Thursday after giving up four

goals on 12 shots.

Fleury, though, is 0-2-0 with a 3.45 goals-against average in

his last three appearances against Boston. Backup Brent Johnson has

won his last two starts versus the Bruins, including the last

meeting at Pittsburgh.

With Boston’s Tuukka Rask still day-to-day with a knee injury,

Thomas could be back in net for this contest.

He’s 4-2-1 with a 3.29 GAA at Pittsburgh, but has allowed 11

goals in losing his last two starts there. He made 27 saves in a

3-0 home win over the Penguins on Nov. 10.

Marc Savard, who scored Saturday for the Bruins, has two goals

and three assists in his last three games against Pittsburgh.

The teams conclude their season series March 18 at Boston.