Pittsburgh Penguins (12-5-0) @ Boston Bruins (7-7-2)
Boston – In the first matchup between two of the Eastern Conference’s top teams, the Pittsburgh Penguins and Boston Bruins will not be at full strength Tuesday night.
Pittsburgh will be without the services of five key members from their Game 7 Stanley Cup clinching win; Evgeni Malkin (shoulder), Kris Letang (shoulder), Sergei Gonchar (wrist), Max Talbot (shoulder) and Tyler Kennedy (groin).
The Bruins who led the Eastern Conference in points last season have also been hit hard by injuries. The Bruins will be without top line forwards Marc Savard and Milan Lucic. Also, defenseman Derek Morris did not participate in today’s morning skate. His status for tonight’s game is up in the air.
After trading away 36 goal scorer Phil Kessel, the Bruins are struggling to score goals. They rank near the bottom of the league with only 38 goals on the season.
Bruins center David Krejci will return to the lineup after missing the past two games with the H1N1 virus.
Tim Thomas (4-6-1, 2.44 GAA) will start in goal for the Bruins. Former Pittsburgh Penguins winger Mark Recchi will skate on the Bruins top line with Marco Sturm and Patrice Bergeron.
Bruins Lines in the morning skate
Sturm – Bergeron – Recchi
Wheeler – Krejci – Ryder
Thornton – Begin – Bitz
Paille – Sabotka – Whitfield
Chara – Boychuk
Hunwick – Wideman
Stuart – Ference
* Derek Morris did not participate in the morning. Game time decision.
Penguins morning skate notes
As expected Dan Bylsma will switch up his lines tonight. Ruslan Fedotenko and Matt Cooke will skate along side Sidney Crosby.
There is word that Sidney Crosby met with the coaching staff Sunday night and asked for the staff to switch up the lines. More on this later.
Deryk Engelland will replace Kris Letang in the lineup and is expected to be paired with Brooks Orpik. The two defensemen were paired for the entire duration of Monday’s practice.
Marc Andre Fleury will start in goal for the Penguins. There was some talk that head coach Dan Bylsma may go with Brent Johnson.
*General Manager Ray Shero did not travel with the team to Boston as the NHL GM meetings are underway.