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Bruins, Penguins Preparing for Series

For the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Boston Bruins meeting in the Eastern Conference finals, this isn’t anything new for them: it’s been done twice before (1990-91 and 1991-1992 season) and for the Penguins, they made it all the way.

You could say the Bruins will avenge their 1991 loss after starting with a 2-0 series lead only to then lose four straight to their nemesis and see their Stanley Cup hopes end.

The teams have a storied history and as they enter Saturday’s Game 1, they’ll do so with a number of interesting story lines.

Get Out the Time Machine

Jaromir Jagr

Jaromir Jagr

Yes, these two teams last met 21 year ago and one player will be part of this rematch, Jaromir Jagr, then an 18-year-old rookie for the Penguins but a Bruin since April.

Jagr was member of the Stanley Cup-winning Penguins in 1991 and 1992 and now at 41, he needs a fire lit under him for this series as the veteran’s speed and scoring has diminished.

In his short stint with the team, he has scored two goals over 11 regular season games and in the 12 Boston playoff games, zero. Jagr doesn’t sound too concerned as his passion for hockey is still there. He also doesn’t appear fazed that he’ll be returning to his former home ice on Saturday and Sunday in Pittsburgh.

He said of the return via USA Today, “A lot of people still remind me (of) that, but it happened 13 years ago, the last time I played for them. So it’s a long time and 23 years ago was my first game.”

Regular-season recaps and scoring

The Bruins played Pittsburgh three times this season and lost all of the games by one goal.

On March 12, the Penguins won 3-2; in the March 17 game, the Penguins defeated the Bruins 2-1 and then on April 20, the Penguins swept with a 3-2 victory.

During the regular season, the Penguins led the league with 3.38 goals per game and now in the playoffs, their sticks are even hotter with a 4.27 GPG average. Evgeni Malkin leads with 16 points, followed by Sidney Crosby (15 ).

He sits at -175 to win the Hart Memorial Trophy this year.

Sidney Crosby

Sidney Crosby

In this postseason, Bruins David Krejci leads among all playoff scorers with his 17 points, reported Sports Illustrated. Teammate Nathan Horton has 14 goals, followed by Milan Lucic (12).

Rusty Skates, No Problem

For the Bruins, when they hit the ice on Saturday, it will be a full week since their last game against the New York Rangers.

Should the team worry about shaking off the rust?

Back in 2011 after sweeping the Philadelphia Flyers in the semifinals, the Bruins had a seven-day break before meeting the Tampa Bay Lightning in the Eastern conference finals. The end result? Boston won the Stanley Cup.

Playing the Underdog Role

The Bruins Brad Marchand said this week that his team is the underdog and that’s just the way it is.

He said via CSNNE.com, “That’s how it goes sometimes. Obviously, they are the favorites. They have some guys that are very skilled and very talented, and they have the two best players in the world . . . and then you add Iginla. And their third and fourth line are playing so well right now.

“We’re in over our heads. We’ve got a big job to do. We’re all excited to try it out and see how it goes …”

Marchand added they may be facing an greater challenge than when they met the Vancouver Canucks in the 2011 Stanley Cup finals as the underdog.

He added, “In any seven-game series you definitely want to wear the other guys down, especially their top guys. But Pittsburgh is a little different. They’ve got some very physical guys over there, and their third and fourth lines play very hard.”

Bovada has the Penguins at +140 to win the Stanley Cup while the Bruins sit at +450.

Pittsburgh gets the first win on Saturday (-165, 5.5 o/u).






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