NHL Preview from The Sports Network|
Wednesday, February 13th
(All times eastern)
Boston Bruins (28-23-5) at Pittsburgh Penguins (32-19-5), 7:30 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The Pittsburgh Penguins will try to conclude a four-game
homestand perfect tonight, when they welcome the Boston Bruins to Mellon
It is fair to say the Penguins' recent success is somewhat of a surprise,
given they have been without captain Sidney Crosby for the last 10 games. Yet,
Pittsburgh is 6-2-2 without its superstar, who is sidelined with a high right
ankle sprain suffered on January 18.
Having Evgeni Malkin around to pick up the scoring slack has certainly helped.
Malkin had a goal and three assists in Pittsburgh's 4-3 victory over
Philadelphia on Sunday, giving him eight goals and 13 assists in the 10 games
since Crosby's injury.
Malkin, named the NHL's second star of the week on Monday, has four goals and
11 assists over a five-game point streak and is tied for third in the NHL with
73 points (31 goals, 42 assists).
Petr Sykora chipped in with a goal and two assists, while Kristopher Letang
added a goal and a helper for the Penguins, who have defeated the Islanders,
Kings and Flyers on this stand. Sergei Gonchar also tallied in the win.
Other players are also stepping up in the absence of Crosby, as Sykora (3g,
5a), Ryan Malone (4g, 3a) and Gonchar (1g, 5a) are all on five-game point
streaks as well.
Ty Conklin stopped 27-of-30 shots for Pittsburgh, which leads the Atlantic
Division by three points over New Jersey. The Penguins are 17-9-3 as the home
team this year.
After dropping back-to-back home games, the Bruins begin a five-game road trip
and are 14-11-2 as the visiting club this year. Boston has also won four of
its last five as the road team.
After losing against Florida on Saturday, Boston was dealt a 3-2 setback by
Carolina on Tuesday. Shawn Thornton had the first two-goal game of his career
for the Bruins, who have lost four of five. Alex Auld made only 20 stops in
Thornton's two goals were his first of the season, and he now has six in 111
career tests in the NHL.
Boston will need its top scorers to step up. Marco Sturm and Chuck Kobasew
lead the team with 19 goals each, and while Strum has seven goals over his
last 12 contests, Kobasew hasn't scored in four straight and has lit the lamp
twice in his last nine games.
The loss dropped the Bruins into ninth in the Eastern Conference, one point
back of Buffalo. Boston is also 11 points behind first-place Ottawa in the
The Penguins have won four straight over Boston, including two meetings this
season. This streak has followed a nine-game losing streak by Pittsburgh to
Boston has lost two straight in the Steel City, but is still 9-3 with two ties
in its last 14 games there.
02/13 10:39:00 ET