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Trainer Chris Stewart checks on Pittsburgh Penguins center Sidney Crosby (87) during the third period of their NHL hockey game against the Washington Capitals in Washington, December 1, 2011. REUTERS/Ann Heisenfelt (Ann Heisenfelt/Reuters)
Trainer Chris Stewart checks on Pittsburgh Penguins center Sidney Crosby (87) during the third period of their NHL hockey game against the Washington Capitals in Washington, December 1, 2011. REUTERS/Ann Heisenfelt (Ann Heisenfelt/Reuters)

Bruins, Pens prepare for first battle of the season Add to ...

The last time the Boston Bruins paid a visit to Pittsburgh, Penguins superstar centre Sidney Crosby was less than a week removed from suffering a concussion that would sideline him for more than 10 1/2 months. When the Bruins return to Pittsburgh on Monday, it only seems that long since Boston last suffered a loss in regulation. The rampaging Bruins will seek their fourth consecutive victory when they face the Penguins for the first time this season in a matchup of Eastern Conference division leaders. The reigning Stanley Cup champions are in the midst of a spectacular 13-0-1 run and have not lost in regulation since Oct. 29. The Bruins will face their stiffest test of the streak against Pittsburgh, which has won seven of its last eight games at the Consol Energy Center and tops the conference with 36 points.

TV: 7 p.m. ET, NESN (Boston), ROOT (Pittsburgh)

ABOUT THE BRUINS (16-7-1): Boston completed a home-and-home sweep of Toronto with a 4-1 home victory Saturday. The Maple Leafs have been victimized three times during the Bruins’ current streak. In that 14-game stretch, Boston has scored at least four goals 11 times. The Bruins also surrendered only 25 goals in that span. David Krejci had a goal and an assist Saturday and has six points in a three-game streak. Goaltender Tim Thomas is riding a nine-game winning streak.

ABOUT THE PENGUINS (16-7-4): Arron Asham and Pascal Dupuis scored 87 seconds apart in the third period and Pittsburgh completed a 3-1-0 road trip with a 3-2 victory at Carolina on Saturday. The Penguins are 5-1-1 since the return of Crosby, who has two goals and 10 assists in the seven games. Center Jordan Staal was knocked out of the game Saturday when a puck opened a cut below his eye. The Penguins had to kill off a 6-on-3 to close out the game.

OVERTIME:

1. Crosby has six goals and 22 assists in 18 career games against Boston.

2. The Penguins have won five of the last seven meetings. The teams split four games last season, with the road squad winning on each occasion.

3. Boston has its longest streak without a regulation defeat since earning a point in 17 straight games in 1983.

PREDICTION: Penguins 4, Bruins 2.

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