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Reply To: NHL • Wednesday Service Plays • 2/24/16

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Preview: Pittsburgh at Boston

When: 7:30 PM ET, Wednesday, February 24, 2016
Where: TD Garden, Boston, Massachusetts

Forward Loui Eriksson looks to continue his torrid offensive pace on Wednesday when the Boston Bruins vie for a three-game season sweep of the visiting Pittsburgh Penguins. Eriksson recorded his fourth multi-goal performance of the season on Monday, but the Bruins fell for the third time in five outings with a 6-4 setback to Columbus.

Eriksson, who has scored seven goals and set up another during the last seven games, had an assist in Boston’s 3-0 victory over Pittsburgh on Dec. 16 before tallying two days later in a 6-2 rout of the Penguins. Those two contests were the second and third, respectively, under the watch of then-new coach Mike Sullivan. “We’re a very different team today than we were then,” Sullivan told the team’s website. “Our mindset has changed. We’re evolved.” The proof is in the pudding for Pittsburgh, which rebounded from the batterings by Boston to post a 15-7-5 record to slowly elevate in the Eastern Conference standings.

TV: 7:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN, TVA, SN1

ABOUT THE PENGUINS (30-20-8): Phil Kessel, who has netted four goals in his last five contests, has been held off the scoresheet in each of the last three meetings with his former team. Kessel is one tally shy of reaching the 20-goal plateau for the eighth consecutive season, however. Rookie Scott Wilson is also enjoying a strong surge of late, tallying in three straight games while defenseman Kris Letang has five assists in that span.

ABOUT THE BRUINS (32-22-6): Tuukka Rask continued to torment Pittsburgh in the first two encounters this season, turning aside all 34 shots he faced in the first meeting before registering an additional 30 in the rematch. The 2014 Vezina Trophy winner owns a scintillating 10-1-1 mark with a slim 1.35 goals-against average in the last 12 meetings with the Penguins. Matt Beleskey was held off the scoresheet in each of those contests, but has heated up with three goals in his last two games.

OVERTIME

1. Pittsburgh C Evgeni Malkin returned to practice on Tuesday, but will miss his 10th straight game due to a lower-body injury.

2. Boston, which has just 12 home wins this season, is 4-8-1 in its last 13 games at TD Garden.

3. Penguins veteran D Ben Lovejoy is expected to have a “long-term” absence due to an upper-body injury, Sullivan told reporters.

PREDICTION: Bruins 3, Penguins 2