Malkin, Penguins seek 4th in row vs. Bruins (Jan 22, 2017)
Evgeni Malkin is a man of his word.
After Pittsburgh Penguins was beaten soundly in Detroit 6-3 on Jan. 14, the superstar center told reporters the Penguins, then in the midst of a three-game losing streak, would rebound.
"These next three games, we should win," Malkin proclaimed to reporters in Detroit after that defeat.
The Penguins did win their next three games and will try to extend that streak to four when they host the Boston Bruins on Sunday at PPG Paints Arena.
Malkin has been a major part of Pittsburgh's winning streak. He has six points (four goals, two assists) in the past three games. A scoring streak of six games pushed him into second place in the NHL's scoring race with 52 points (22 goals, 30 assists) behind Edmonton Oilers center Connor McDavid (55 points).
The Penguins' offensive surge goes beyond Malkin. They have averaged 6.3 goals per game during the winning streak and have gotten ample secondary scoring. Left winger Conor Sheary (four goals, two assists) and center Jake Guentzel (one goal, two assists) each have three-game scoring streaks. In Friday's 7-1 road win against the Hurricanes, the Penguins had 13 players record a point.
"We've certainly been encouraged with the way our team is trending right now because I think we're becoming a much more difficult team to play against," head coach Mike Sullivan said to the media following practice Saturday. "I think we're getting contributions from throughout our lineup. We're not necessary trying to outscore teams. We're just trying to play the game the right way and when we do that, we have enough talent on our team that we're going to generate offense."
The Bruins enter the contest with a three-game losing streak of their own. Following a 1-0 home loss to the Chicago Blackhawks on Friday, Boston coach Claude Julien was asked if he fears for his job security.
"Well, I'm not into shock journalism," Julien said at TD Garden in response to a question from CSN New England. "So I'll stay away from that question, if you don't mind."
Following practice Saturday, Julien did address the question.
"I didn't feel it was the appropriate time for me to answer that," Julien said. "After a game, your emotions are pretty high so I wasn't getting into that. But to be honest with you guys, my job is to coach a hockey club. Am I worried about my job? No I'm not because it's not my job to worry about it."
"I think my job is to coach this team and try to do everything I can. And if I become one of the reasons that we're not doing well, well then I think management has to make that decision. It's not my decision to make."
Penguins left winger Scott Wilson is expected to play after leaving Friday's win at 5:39 of the third period with a suspected arm injury. Saturday, Wilson was optimistic he will play Sunday.
"I feel great this morning," Wilson said following practice. "Shocked at how good I felt this morning actually. I'll be ready to go tomorrow."