Game 1: Bruins-Penguins Preview

Dennis Seidenberg, Zdeno Chara

Game 1: Boston Bruins @ Pittsburgh Penguins

Game Time: 8:00 PM

Location: Console Energy Center

TV/Radio: NBC/98.5 The Sports Hub

Hockey will finally be played tonight after a one-week layoff that felt more like an eternity. The Boston Bruins and Pittsburgh Penguins will clash, kicking off their best of seven, Eastern Conference Finals series. Only four victories now separate one of these two clubs from the Stanley Cup Finals.

It’s certain both Boston and Pittsburgh are well rested and focused. They have been eagerly awaiting the puck drop while strategizing, prepping, and healing up all week for what should be a wildly entertaining battle. Play will unquestionably be fast, furious, and physically taxing. It will be all about which team can maintain the necessary intensity over the course of a complete sixty-minute effort.

This opening tilt could serve as a feeling out process considering it may take some time to ramp things up to the level that each side had been performing at in the prior round. Whoever can establish their style of play first will have the greater chance of emerging victorious. The Penguins will have a raucous home crowd cheering them on and it will be imperative that Boston channels their emotion and weathers the initial storm. The Bruins must display great discipline in doing so.

Claude Julien spoke about dealing with the extended time off, saying, “We’ve been through it a few times. Some of it we’ve learned from. I still remember beating Montreal four straight and having 11 days off and we came back against Carolina and we just weren’t ready for that series and by the time we got ourselves going the damage had been done, so a little too late. You kind of learn from those situations as coaches, as players, and everything else, you make sure that you don’t make those things repeat itself. I think our guys have done a great job this week. I’ve like the way our team has practiced this week and to me we look like a group that’s ready to start the series.”

Andrew Ference has not been cleared to play, despite practicing all week. He is very close to making a return to the blue line, though it’s safe to assume he will be sitting out game 1. Zdeno Chara and Dennis Seidenberg will be split up with the hopes of countering Sidney Crosby’s top line and Evgeni Malkin’s second line. Look for Chara and Seidenberg to log heavy minutes.

As for the forward lines, expect the usual. Claude Julien didn’t make changes to them during the week. The Bruins must display great discipline in doing so.

Boston’s expected lineup is as follows:

Lucic-Krejci-Horton

Marchand-Bergeron-Jagr

Peverley-Kelly-Seguin

Paille-Campell-Thornton

Chara-Boychuk

Bartkowski-Seidenberg

Krug-McQuaid

Rask

Pittsburgh’s expected lineup is as follows:

Kunitz-Crosby-Dupuis

Iginla-Malkin-Neal

Cooke-Sutter-Kennedy

Morrow-Jokinen-Adams

Orpik-Martin

Eaton-Letang

Murray-Niskanen

Vokoun

Frank O’Laughlin – Lead NHL Contributor – TitleTown Sports

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