Following a 5-2 victory over the Carolina Hurricanes last night to take control of the Southeast Dvision with 19 points, the Tampa Bay Lightning immediately get another chance to gain some points in the standings and create some distance between them and their division rivals with a road tilt against the Pittsburgh Penguins tonight.
The Penguins, who thoroughly dominated the Bolts in regular season play a season ago, will be without reigning Art Ross and Hart Trophy winner Evgeni Malkin, who terrorized the Bolts in three Pittsburgh wins out of four tries in 2011-2012.
Malkin will miss some time after appearing to suffer whiplash and/or a concussion after slamming hard into the boards on Friday night after a hit by Florida Panthers defenseman Erik Gudbrandson.
However, the Penguins have had success with coach Dan Bylsma behind the bench no matter which forwards they ice. They pushed the Tampa Bay Lightning to seven games in the opening round of the 2010-2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs despite being without top two centers Malkin and Sidney Crosby.
Tampa Bay is also coming off a game last night with travel in between, and will undoubtedly face an upward battle against a more rested Pittsburgh club that hasn't played since Friday against the Florida Panthers.
Stamkos has 26 points on the season (12 goals, 14 assists) while Crosby has 25 points (7 goals, 18 assists).
The puck drops at 7:00 PM EST.
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