Bruins at Penguins: Shorthanded Pens Blue Line Takes on NHL's Hottest Club

James ConleyContributor IIIDecember 5, 2011

BOSTON, MA - MARCH 05: Marc-Andre Fleury #29 of the Pittsburgh Penguins stops a shot by Chris Kelly #23 of the Boston Bruins in the second period on March 5, 2011 at the TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
Elsa/Getty Images

A battle between the East's top teams is set for Monday night in Pittsburgh. The white-hot Boston Bruins come to town to take on the Pittsburgh Penguins, who will be without four of their seven defensive starters.

Deryk Engelland, Kris Letang and Zbynek Michalek will each miss Monday's action, and Ben Lovejoy remains sidelined with a broken wrist. Rookies Robert Bortuzzo and Simon Despres will see action for a third straight game, while Alexandre Picard has been recalled from Wilkes-Barre Scranton to replace Engelland.

Monday marks the first meeting of these Eastern Conference powers this season. Both clubs enter the game ranked in the top seven of the league in goals for, goals against and penalty kill percentage.

Pittsburgh can pad its East-best points total with a win, while a Boston victory will put them within a few points of the Penguins and extend their points streak to 15 consecutive games.