For the second game in a row, the Boston Bruins (27-14-6) and Pittsburgh Penguins (32-14-3) are facing off in the Steel City. The Bruins had a six-game winning streak snapped last week and have now dropped two games in a row, while the Penguins have won four games in a row after Sunday’s 1-0 victory.
Tuesday will represent the eighth and final regular-season meeting between these clubs this season, with the Bruins claiming four of the previous seven. This one is as close to a pick ‘em as you’ll see on the ice, with Pittsburgh a slight -110 favorite and Boston a -106 underdog.
By the Numbers
As the regular season winds down, the Penguins enter the game as the superior offensive team. Pittsburgh sits third in the NHL with 3.39 goals per game on 30 shots while also having a top-10 power play at 23.1 percent. Now, although Boston averages closer to 33 shots per game, they rank just 16th with 2.81 goals per game and 12th with a 20.9 power-play percentage.
Defensively, this is where the Bruins have the edge. Boston is sixth with 2.47 goals allowed and fourth with just under 28 shots allowed while also carrying the second-best penalty kill rate at 85.8 percent. Meanwhile, Pittsburgh is 12th with 2.73 goals allowed and 14th with 29.7 shots allowed but also come in just 23rd with a 77.6 percent kill rate.
Players to Watch
Left-wing Brad Marchand is Boston’s runaway top scorer. The pesky veteran leads the team with 25 goals and 32 assists and looks to get back on track after back-to-back pointless appearances.
In addition to Marchand, center Patrice Bergeron and right-wing David Pastrnak have been steady contributors as well. Both of them sit at 18 goals and 23 assists, although Pastrnak has played in six fewer games.
The wild card for the B’s is left-wing Taylor Hall. Acquired around the trade deadline, Hall already has six points in his new uniform, three of them coming against his former team, the Sabres.
To no surprise, center Sidney Crosby is the leading point-producer for the Penguins. Sid the Kid is currently riding a four-game point streak, giving him 20 goals and a team-leading 36 assists.
With one more goal than Crosby, left-wing Jake Guentzel has 52 points on the season. He, too, has a four-game point streak on the line, scoring Sunday’s lone goal to go with five helpers.
Others to watch include defenseman Kris Letang and right-wing Bryan Rust. Letang has assists in three of his last four games to bring his season total to 32, while Rust has three goals and a pair of assists in his last four games.
While rookie Jeremy Swayman has been excellent for the Bruins, it’s likely they’ll turn to the veteran Tuukka Rask on Tuesday. Rask is 11-4-2 with a 2.36 GAA and .913 save percentage this season.
The Penguins have given Tristan Jarry a rest after every two or three starts, so he should be good to start until later this week. Jarry is 21-8-3 with a 2.70 GAA and .911 save percentage in 2021.
Sunday was a phenomenal duel between these teams, and there’ no reason to expect anything different on Tuesday. For my money, I like the Penguins. The value is too good for a home favorite, especially one on a decent win streak with a superior goalie in Jarry.
Take the Penguins to win this one at home and to continue to build their lead in the East division.
Pick: Penguins -110