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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 Arena.

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 defeat.

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 Northeast Division.

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 the Bruins.

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


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