Gameday 37: Ugh, Boston.

It’s not every day that a team comes back from a 4-0 deficit to win a hockey game. The Pittsburgh Penguins had the opportunity to do it Tuesday against their Metropolitan Division rivals, the Washington Capitals, and by the time the second period ended and the Penguins had clawed their way back to 4-3, one might have believed that such a comeback was in the cards. But alas, they couldn’t get any further than that and Pittsburgh wasted a golden opportunity to jump ahead in the standings and maintain their positive momentum heading into tonight’s game against the best team in the League (once again), the Boston Bruins.

The Bruins are annoying. Despite the retirements of captain Patrice Bergeron and David Krejci this past summer, they continue to be among the top three teams in the NHL. Much of their success has to do with the fact that they arguably have the best goaltending tandem in the League; between Jeremy Swayman and Linus Ullmark they really can’t go wrong. Their strength in goal is allowing Boston to get away with having merely the 15th-best offense (in terms of goals scored) in the NHL. Offensively they have two pretty good lines that head coach Jim Montgomery relies on quite a bit, and then the third line is alright but the fourth has averaged less than ten minutes a night. Defensively they have Charlie McAvoy and Hampus Lindholm anchoring two lines with a couple borderline top-four guys in Matt Grzelcyk and Brandon Carlo, then a diminishing Kevin Shattenkirk on the third line with whoever has been healthy.

Pittsburgh has had a hard time against Boston over the last several years, particularly when visiting the Bruins. Since the 2017-18 season, the Penguins are 2-8-2 at TD Garden. In fact, the last time they won in Boston was 2/8/22! Weird.