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NHL: Pittsburgh Penguins @ Boston Bruins preview

Fenway Park will play host to the 2023 Winter Classic on Monday 2nd January between the Boston Bruins and Pittsburgh Penguins.

It will be the 14th edition of the NHL's outdoor spectacular and second time at Fenway Park, which is home to American League baseball team Boston Red Sox.

Winter Classic history

Both the Bruins and Penguins have strong history with the Winter Classic and each has enjoyed outdoor success in the past.

For the hosting Bruins it will be their fourth appearance in the New Year event, with the last coming in 2019. Boston's first experience came at Fenway Park where they beat Philadelphia Flyers 2-1 in overtime.

In 2016 they were beaten 5-1 by the Montreal Canadiens at Gillette Stadium before bouncing back in 2019 with a 4-2 victory over Chicago Blackhawks at Notre Dame Stadium.

The Penguins will play in their third Winter Classic after proudly winning the very first 2-1 at Ralph Wilson Stadium in 2008 and also losing 3-1 to Washington Capitals at Heinz Field in 2011.

Overall, Boston have played a total of four outdoor games, which includes the Stadium Series and are 3-1. The Penguins have iced in a total of five going 2-3 so far.

High in confidence

Both teams head outdoors high in confidence with the Bruins 7-0-3 in their past 10 games and Penguins 5-3-2.

Boston leads all NHL teams with a 28-4-4 record and .833 points percentage, while the Penguins are 11th overall, and fourth in the Metropolitan Division with a 19-11-6 record and .611 points percentage.

Showcase of talent

The 2023 Winter Classic will showcase several of the NHL's top players, with the leaders on each team both enjoying past individual scoring success in the event.

The Bruins are led in goals and points by Czech forward David Pastrnak (50 points; 25 goals, 25 assists) and he was on the scoresheet in 2019 at Fenway Park when Boston beat the Blackhawks.

Captain Sidney Crosby tops the Penguins for goals and points (43; 19 goals, 24 assists) and his most famous Winter Classic moment came in the 2008 inaugural game when he scored the game-winning goal in the penalty shoot-out.

Other stars to look out for include Boston's Captain Patrice Bergeron (15 goals, 15 assists), agitator Brad Marchand (10 goals, 20 assists), defensemen Charlie McAvoy (two goals, 17 assists), Hampus Lindholm (four goals, 23 assists), and goaltender Linus Ullmark, who is the current league leader in wins (20), goals-against average (1.90) and save percentage (.938).

The Penguins counter with forwards Evgeni Malkin (12 goals, 22 assists), Jake Guentzel (15 goals, 18 assists), and Rickard Rakell (13 goals, 10 assists), while Tristan Jarry with a 15-5-4 record, .917 save percentage and 2.78 GAA will likely get the start in net.

Rich history

The Bruins and Penguins have a rich winning history, sharing eleven Stanley Cups (Bruins six and Penguins five).

With Crosby and Malkin leading the charge, Pittsburgh have been crowned champions twice (in 2016 and 2017) since Boston last lifted the famous trophy in 2011 with Bergeron, Marchand and David Krejci, who returned to the team in the summer.

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With father time catching up on several players, moments like the Winter Classic and an opportunity to lift another Stanley Cup together has become even more important and cherished.

Pittsburgh are +2500 to equal Boston's haul of six championships this season, while the Bruins are +650 to make it seven.

Key stats

The Bruins sit in the top five of all teams in all key measures. They have scored the second-most goals in the league (3.78 average per game), conceded the least (2.19 average per game), their powerplay is fifth (27.6%) and penalty kill best in the league (84.7%).

The Penguins fall behind them in all categories, but not by a huge margin with their goal scoring ranked 10th (3.33), goals against 15th (3.03), powerplay 14th (22.6%) and penalty kill second (83.9%).

Boston also hold an advantage on the face-off dot, winning 56.4% of draws (2nd) while Pittsburgh have won 51.5% (11th).

Previous meeting

There has been one previous meeting between the two this season, in the comfort of Pittsburgh's PPG Paints Arena where the Bruins won a high-scoring affair 6-5 in overtime thanks to a goal from Lindholm.

Boston trailed by three goals before rallying in the third period to claim the two points.

The Bruins are 18-0-3 with home advantage this season (10-4-1 away) and the Penguins 9-7-2 on the road, but those records say little about each team's ability to deal with whatever conditions come their way on Sunday.

One thing is guaranteed, though, the two famous sides will look incredible in their vintage sweaters and Fenway Park will proudly have the world's eyes upon it for what continues to be a very special day in the NHL calendar.

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