NHL Preview from The Sports Network
Sunday, February 12th (All times Eastern)
Tampa Bay Lightning (24-24-6) at Pittsburgh Penguins (31-19-5), 7 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The Pittsburgh Penguins tied a season-high for goals in a game on Saturday and will try to carry some of that offense into tonight's contest when they host the Tampa Bay Lightning at Consol Energy Center.
The Penguins hosted Winnipeg on Saturday afternoon and posted an 8-5 victory over the Jets. It was the second time this year that Pittsburgh had scored eight goals, as it also defeated Buffalo by an 8-3 count back on Dec. 17.
Evgeni Malkin padded his lead atop the NHL scoring race, as he registered a goal and four assists in Saturday's high-scoring affair against the Jets. The Russian superstar has 67 points on the year and leads Philadelphia's Claude Giroux and Tampa's Steven Stamkos by five points for the league lead.
Kris Letang added two goals and an assist and Jordan Staal scored in his first game back from a knee injury for the Penguins, who had gone 1-2-1 over their previous four games. Chris Kunitz added a goal and three assists, while Marc- Andre Fleury made 20 saves in the win.
"We wanted to play a little bit of a better game," said Staal, who played for the first time since Jan. 6. "We obviously did a great job offensively to stay ahead of them but we have to play better defensively if we want to keep winning."
With 67 points, Pittsburgh is currently fifth in the Eastern Conference, where it is two points behind Philadelphia and one ahead of New Jersey.
Tonight's tilt marks the middle portion of a three-game homestand for the Pens, who are 16-7-2 as the host this season. Pittsburgh will complete the residency Wednesday against Anaheim.
Tampa Bay is eight points out of a playoff spot in the East and was able to record two points in Saturday's road victory over Buffalo. Although the Lightning have won just two of three games so far in February, they are 7-1-2 over their last 10 trips to the ice.
Stamkos lit the lamp and added an assist while Mathieu Garon stopped 26 shots for Tampa in its 2-1 regulation win over the Sabres. Steve Downie also scored for Tampa Bay.
Stamkos scored the game-winner with 6:44 left in the third, when he beat Buffalo goaltender Ryan Miller after a 2-on-1 pass from Teddy Purcell.
"I just tried to get the shot off as quick as I could," Stamkos said. "Miller gets over there quick, so it was nice to get that two-goal lead obviously. They scored one late but it was nice to hold them off at the end."
Tampa hopes to get a boost from a returning player tonight, as forward Ryan Malone is questionable with an upper-body injury that has caused him to sit out the last seven games. Malone has 10 goals and 17 assists in 41 games this season and is questionable for tonight.
This evening's test marks the end of a three-game road trip for the Lightning, who are just 9-16-4 as the guest this season.
Tampa and the Pens met twice earlier this year in Florida and split those encounters. Pittsburgh has taken three of five overall in the series and the Lightning have dropped two in a row and four of their last five in the Steel City.
02/12 10:50:13 ET