BOSTON (CBS) – Monday night is a meeting of the top two teams in the Eastern Conference, as the Boston Bruins bring their hot streak to Pittsburgh for a meeting with the Penguins.
Boston has won 13 of their last 14 games, with the only loss coming in a shootout to the Detroit Red Wings. Their 14-game streak without a regulation loss is the longest for the franchise since they went 17 straight in 1983.
The Penguins are currently first in the Eastern Conference with 36 points. Boston is second with 33, with three more games to play than Pittsburgh.
Could Monday night a playoff preview? Right now the Bruins are just focusing on the present.
“We haven’t faced them this year but we know what qualities they have and what individuals they have that can make a big difference in the game,” said captain Zdeno Chara. “It’s going to be a big game for us and obviously a challenge.”
Read: Bruins-Penguins Preview
“They have a good team and it’s going to be a good test for both teams to see where each other is at,” said defenseman Johnny Boychuk. “You know it’s going to be a good game.”
The Bruins are looking forward to the first-place battle between the two conference heavyweights Monday night, and confident they can keep their winning ways going.
“We’ve got the right mind-set going into every game right now,” said defenseman Joe Corvo. “I feel like we’re playing the same way every game and we’re being super consistent and if we don’t at some point in the game, it gets corrected. I think it’s obviously a good test; they’re in first place so it’ll be an exciting game.”
The Penguins recently got a jolt in their lineup with the return of Sidney Crosby. The face of the NHL scored twice in his return on November 21, and has 10 assists in his seven games this season. His presence alone will give the Bruins defense fits Monday night.
Stats: B’s-Penguins Head to Head
“Now that they have him he just makes that team that much better,” added Boychuk. “They still have a good team without him, with him they’re dangerous. We have to respect that and play well defensively.”
“It’s going to be a great challenge for us. They are playing extremely well. They have their best player back and he seems like he hasn’t missed a beat,’ said center Chris Kelly. “It will be an exciting game for us.”
It does not help that Crosby has Evgeni Malkin on his side. Malkin has nine goals and 15 assists this season, with four of his tallies coming after Crosby’s return.
“Both of them are very dangerous. Both play a very highly skilled game,” said Chara. “Really, it’s not that one is better than the other, they really work extremely well together. When they play on different lines they just make each line so much better.”
Beasts Of The East: Pittsburgh Penguins
As defending champions, any arena the Bruins head into is going to be hostile. But it has not stopped them as late, with tough road wins coming in Montreal, Buffalo and twice in Toronto during their current hot streak.
But the main thing for Boston is they are winning, and having fun doing so.
“It’s a great feeling, it’s so much fun. There is nothing better than that, we are having fun,” said center David Krejci. “Everything is going our way right now. We want to keep having fun, so we know it’s not going to be easy… We have Pittsburgh; that’s going to be a tough one. But I think we are feeling pretty good about ourselves, our game is pretty good so far. You can’t get too comfortable, but I’m sure we can do it. We have a good enough team to get another win on Monday.”
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