Bruins Take On Crosby-less Penguins Tonight

The Boston Bruins head to Pittsburgh tonight to take on a Sidney Crosby-less Penguins.  Boston really lucks out here because over the last month or so he has been the best player in the league, uncontested.  The Bruins are coming off of a very disappointing loss in which they held a 2-0 lead late in the third period, blew it, and lost in overtime.  So what should we expect to see from the Black & Gold tonight?

1. Tuukka Rask.  Tuukka has another opportunity to shine while starter Tim Thomas gets so much deserved and much needed rest.  Rask has not had a lot of opportunities to show that he’s ready to be a full time NHL goaltender because of the stellar play of Thomas thus far.  Rask has seen mostly garbage time or cupcake teams during the year so any chance he gets to play means something.  Tim Thomas needs Tuukka Rask to be at the level he was last year so that Thomas can be healthy and rested when it comes time for that playoff run.  Keep an eye on Tuukka tonight as the Bruins take on one of the elite teams in the league.

2. Slumpers.  Zdeno Chara, Marc Savard, Blake Wheeler, Michael Ryder.  None of these guys have had stellar performances of late.  Savard still needs to find his game and Chara just needs to bring a high intensity game on a nightly basis.  However, Ryder and Wheeler need to play like they are fighting for a spot on this team like they were early on in the season.  The sense of urgency with a few players has certainly dissipated.

3. Matt Cooke.  This one goes for Savard too.  Keep an eye on how much he tries to get in Savard’s head and see how much Cooke tries to mess with the entire team to take them off of their game.  That’s what Cook brings to the table so the Bruins need to ignore his antics and not get rattled.

4. Claude Julien.  It’s no secret that certain fans are calling for the head coaches…well, head.  It will be interesting to see how he adapts to in-game scenarios.  Benching Savard was a good step to show that players need to be responsible for their actions.  More of this needs to happen so that everyone takes each shift seriously.

We’ll see how the team performs against one of the best teams in the NHL tonight on Versus at 7:30pm EST.  Expect a low scoring affair under 5 total goals…


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