NHL on NBCSN: Penguins host Bruins in bye week battle

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NBCSN’s coverage of the 2017-18 NHL season continues as the Pittsburgh Penguins host the Boston Bruins at 7:30 p.m. ET. To watch the game online, click here.

It’s a long regular season, so sometimes you have to maintain some gas in the tank, but the Penguins and Bruins have little reason to hold back on Sunday.

Both teams will enter bye weeks after today’s game in Pittsburgh, so expect an all-out-effort from both sides.

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Generally speaking, this is a story of two team going in different directions. The Penguins are repeat champions, yet now they face very real questions about even making the playoffs. The Bruins were the team that barely crept into the postseason in 2016-17, but now the B’s seem primed to lock down a round of home-ice advantage.

The Bruins are winners of three in a row and eight of nine, with Patrice Bergeron & Co. throttling the Carolina Hurricanes last night by a humiliating score of 7-1.

“We understand that we’ve got something good right now, and we just want to do everything we can to keep it rolling,” Jake DeBrusk said, via NBC Sports Boston’s Joe Haggerty. “We’re starting to find our identity and I think it’s about staying consistent. We’ve done a good job in the standings, but there is still a lot of hockey to be played.”

While the Bruins are hotter than boiling chowder, the Penguins have been struggling, but it’s worth noting that Pittsburgh is coming off of a 4-0 win from Friday. They are getting a look at Daniel Sprong with Sidney Crosby, and will be a bit less fatigued heading into this contest.

“I think it comes down to building off of a solid game against the Islanders that’s something we haven’t done a great job of,” Sidney Crosby said, according to the Penguins’ website. “We’ll look to do it here and get some good rest and make sure we’re ready for a big second half.”

This game means more to the Penguins, but both teams have enough to play for – and enough rest coming up – that this should be a fun one on NBCSN tonight.

James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.