PITTSBURGH - NOVEMBER 10: Brent Johnson #1 of the Pittsburgh Penguins maeks a save on Mark Recchi #28 of the Boston Bruins at Consol Energy Center on November 10 2010 in Pittsburgh Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)

Bruins Vs. Penguins: Pens Collapse, But Remain Competitive In Atlantic Division

The Pens and Bruins face off at 7:00.

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4 Total Updates since November 10, 2010
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Yes, It's Bad, But Penguins Haven't Fared Badly Compared To Atlantic Division Peers

I’m not sure where I’m going with this, exactly, but I’m trying to find a silver lining in the Pens’ loss against the Bruins tonight. If there’s one thing that’s mildly reassuring about the Penguins’ surprisingly mediocre start, it’s that two other teams in their division, the New York Islanders and the New Jersey Devils, have been even worse. Actually, much worse. Here’s a glance at the goal differentials so far in the Atlantic division:

Flyers +11
Rangers -2
Penguins +1
Islanders -16
Devils -24

The Flyers are a flat-out good team, but the Pens actually have a better goal differential than every other team in the division. The Islanders and Devils, meanwhile, have easily the two worst goal differentials in the entire NHL – the Oilers are the only other team worse than -10. New Jersey’s position in the division is the exact reverse from where they were a year ago, when they won the division with 103 points.

Things do indeed look bad for the Devils, who have lost Zach Parise for three months, but it’s still unclear what to make of the fact that the Islanders and Devils have been so bad. Should the Penguins be excited that they have these two teams on their schedule nine more times, mostly down the stretch? Or should they merely feel glad that a former top division rival has been even worse this season than they have? I don’t know, but one thing is for sure – there’s a ton of hockey left to play, and these standings probably don’t look the way they will in a few months.

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Bruins Vs. Penguins: Pens Don't Show Up For Third Period, Allow Five Goals

The Pens seemed to be doing just fine in this one after a power-play goal (!) by Sidney Crosby made it 4-2 at the end of the second period, but wow did things go haywire after that. The Bruins tied it in the blink of an eye a few minutes into the third period, with rapid-fire goals by Nathan Horton and Zdeno Chara. Then it was Shawn Thornton and Blake Wheeler in the latter half of the period, and finally an empty-netter.

The Penguins were, what, 17 minutes away from ending Bruins goalie Tim Thomas’ undefeated record, but they completely fell apart instead. The Penguins’ defense had yet another rough night (the defense broke down, particularly, on the Thornton goal), and so despite a big game from Crosby (who also had two assists), two assists from Evgeni Malkin, and Arron Asham and Brooks Orpik’s first goals of the year, the Pens are taking another loss.

For more on the game, check out PensBurgh.

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Bruins Vs. Penguins: Pens Fall Apart In Disastrous Third Period

Sports Network | November 10, 2010

Pittsburgh, PA (Sports Network) – Shawn Thornton scored the tie-breaking goal during a furious five-goal third period rally that lifted to Boston to a 7-4 come-from-behind victory over Pittsburgh at CONSOL Energy Center.

Mark Recchi posted a goal and two assists against his former team while Milan Lucic, Nathan Horton, Blake Wheeler, Zdeno Chara and Brad Marchand all lit the lamp for the Bruins, who halted a two-game slide.

Tim Thomas turned away 42 shots to extend his franchise-record win streak to start a season to eight consecutive games.

Sidney Crosby had a goal and two assists while Evgeni Malkin and Kris Letang supplied a pair of helpers each for the Penguins, who fell to 2-5-0 at their new home.

Brent Johnson took the loss after yielding six goals on 32 shots.

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Bruins Vs. Penguins: Boston And Pittsburgh Face Similar Goalie Issues

The Penguins aim to shake off their early-season rust on Wednesday night against the Boston Bruins. The Pens and Bruins both have 15 points, but Boston has played four fewer games, and is currently at 7-3-1. The Bruins are led by veteran goalie Tim Thomas, who currently is undefeated and has a 1.05 goals against average and a .967 save percentage, so if he plays, the Pens might into trouble if they dig themselves early holes, as they've been prone to do so. (Brent Johnson is likely to start, however.)

The parallels between the Bruins' goalie situation and the Pens' only go so far, but they're interesting - Thomas is Boston's Brent Johnson, and Tuukka Rask is their Marc-Andre Fleury. Rask hasn't been nearly as frustrating as Fleury, but he's the young goalie who has been outperformed by the veteran, despite a strong performance by Rask against the Blues on Saturday. (The Bruins could end up trading Thomas as a way of opening more playing time for Rask.)

Another storyline for tonight's game is that the hard shot to the head that the Pens' Matt Cooke's dealt the Bruins' Marc Savard last season. Savard is still struggling with the aftermath of that hit, and coincidentally, his replacement David Krejci is also now out with a concussion.

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