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NHL Preview from The Sports Network
Tuesday, March 12th (All times Eastern)
Boston Bruins (17-3-3) at Pittsburgh Penguins (18-8-0), 7:30 p.m.
(Sports Network) - Evgeni Malkin's absence from the lineup Sunday did nothing to slow down the sizzling Pittsburgh Penguins.
On Tuesday, head coach Dan Bylsma's club will shoot for a sixth straight victory as the Penguins host the Boston Bruins in an Eastern Conference showdown at CONSOL Energy Center.
Pittsburgh lost Malkin to an undisclosed injury in Saturday's shootout win in Toronto and he was unable to play the following night against the New York Islanders. The Pens were fine without the reigning Hart Trophy winner, however, notching a 6-1 rout of the visiting Isles to remain unbeaten in March.
Bylsma said prior to Sunday's game that Malkin's injury is unrelated to the concussion that sidelined him for four straight outings earlier this season, but afterward he revealed that last year's MVP would likely be out between 1- to-2 weeks.
Chris Kunitz registered the fourth hat trick of his career and tallied a personal-best five points, leading the way in Pittsburgh's offensive onslaught. Kunitz has registered 10 goals over his last seven games and is tied with James Neal for the team lead with 17 markers this season.
Pittsburgh also received big efforts from a few others with Malkin out of the lineup. Captain Sidney Crosby assisted on five of the Penguins' six goals, including a pair of markers from Pascal Dupuis, while Neal posted a goal and two helpers in the rout.
"We have a great team," said Penguins goaltender Tomas Vokoun. "We've just got play the way we need to play to win. When we do that, it's hard to play with us. We didn't even have Geno today and look at what we did."
Vokoun stopped 23-of-24 shots to help Pittsburgh match its longest win streak of the season. The Penguins also have won four straight home games and are 7-4-0 in the Steel City this season.
Tuesday's clash is the first meeting this season between the Bruins and Penguins, who are both currently seeded in the East's top-four. The Atlantic Division-leading Pens are seeded second with 36 points, while fourth-seeded Boston has one more point than Pittsburgh but still trails Montreal by one point for the Northeast Division lead.
The Pens won the final three of four matchups against the Bruins in 2011-12 and Pittsburgh has taken five of six and eight of 11 in the series overall. Boston has lost in four of its past seven trips to the Steel City.
The Bruins improved to 17-3-3 on the season with Monday's shootout win at Ottawa. David Krejci scored in the fourth round of the deciding phase to lift Boston to a 3-2 comeback win.
Boston allowed the Senators to take a 2-0 lead early in the first period, but the Bruins would even the score on goals by Shawn Thornton and Daniel Paille. Tuukka Rask made 30 saves for the Bruins, who won their 10 straight game at Ottawa and their third in a row overall.
"We're a little lucky to come out of here with a win with the way we started the game," Bruins head coach Claude Julien said. "They put us on our heels, and it took us a long time to get back in the game."
Bruins center Chris Kelly left in the second period with a lower-body injury, but is with the team in Pittsburgh and is questionable for Tuesday.
Boston has a 9-1-2 road record this season and will follow Tuesday's tilt with a two-game homestand against Florida and Washington.
03/12 10:48:20 ET