The last time Pittsburgh played at TD Garden, it wound up falling 1-0 to the Boston Bruins in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference finals in June, finishing off a stunning sweep of the top-seeded Penguins.
The Penguins return to Boston on Monday night in a matchup of teams with the highest point totals in the East, with Pittsburgh looking to beat Boston for the eighth straight time in the regular season.
That domination mattered little in the playoffs last season, with the Bruins limiting the NHL's highest-scoring team to two goals in the series. Pittsburgh defeated Boston 3-2 in the first meeting since then, Oct. 30 at the Consol Energy Center.
The Bruins (15-6-2) enter this game on a roll, having gone 7-1-1 in their last nine after beating Carolina 3-2 in overtime Saturday on David Krejci's goal in the extra period.
'We haven't had much luck lately in shootouts,' coach Claude Julien said. 'I just thought it was important to get a line out there and give us a better chance. It paid off.'
Boston's 43 goals allowed are the fewest in the NHL and they're 15-1-0 when they allow two or fewer. Tuukka Rask, whose .945 save percentage and 1.62 goals-against average are among the best in the league, should be back in net Monday after backup Chad Johnson played against the Hurricanes.
The Bruins will try to shut down a high-scoring Penguins team that has 69 goals, among the most in the conference.
The Penguins (15-9-0), though, trailed 3-0 in the third period Saturday before falling 3-2, snapping a three-game win streak. Pittsburgh has been inconsistent offensively, scoring 11 goals during the three straight victories after managing one goal in each loss of a 1-4-0 stretch that preceded it.
"We had our chances to score," center Brandon Sutter said. "We just couldn't get them to go in."
Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin are among the league leaders in power-play points with 12. However, the Bruins are one of the least-penalized teams in the NHL, getting called for 99 and killing off 85.7 percent of opposing power plays - among the best in the league.
Crosby, who had a three-game goal streak snapped Saturday but leads the league with 30 points, has five goals and seven assists in his last nine regular-season matchups with Boston.
Malkin has a goal and 15 assists in his past 11 games overall, while Chris Kunitz has recorded three goals and four assists during a seven-game regular-season point streak against the Bruins. Kunitz scored on the power play in the Oct. 30 matchup.
Though Rask helped to dominate Pittsburgh by playing all four games of last season's playoff matchup, he's lost four straight regular-season starts against Pittsburgh with a 2.80 goals-against average.
The Associated Press News Service
The Associated Press
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