David Perron
Penguins-Kings Preview
David Perron

Penguins-Kings Preview

Published Dec. 5, 2015 12:07 a.m. ET

Emphatically ending his slow start to 2015-16, Evgeni Malkin is looking to match his longest scoring streak in almost four years.

The Pittsburgh Penguins would surely settle for him leading them to another win over the Los Angeles Kings.

Malkin looks to continue his offensive barrage as the Penguins go for their longest road winning streak over the Kings on Saturday.

Malkin had 12 points through the first 17 games, but just four were goals and he failed to score any in the last seven of that stretch. The 2012 Hart Trophy winner has since turned things around in a big way, scoring eight goals and assisting on five others in his past seven.


The center has also totaled five goals during a four-game scoring streak, his longest since a five-gamer from March 15-22, 2012.

Malkin had three points Tuesday, including a highlight-reel goal where he evaded a defender, skated around the net and scored on a wraparound in a 5-1 win at San Jose. The Penguins (14-8-2) won there for the first time since Oct. 22, 1997, ending a 12-game winless run.

"It's like we're getting used to (Malkin)," said left wing David Perron, who had one goal and one assist Tuesday. "We're not even talking about it, his goal, but it's another highlight reel at a key time. That's right up there with the last two unreal goals he had. It's amazing."

Malkin has six goals and four assists in seven career meetings with Los Angeles, and they've all ended in wins for Pittsburgh.

The Penguins have won eight of the last 10 matchups with the Kings (15-8-1), including three straight at Los Angeles to match their longest streak there from 1996-99.

Pittsburgh may be without Kris Letang after he suffered an undisclosed injury Tuesday. The team's leading scorer among defensemen with 14 points, he's collected eight on the power play.

"We'll see what the trainers have to say as we move along," coach Mike Johnston told the team's official website. "With an afternoon game (Saturday) we'll just check him in the morning. If things are moving like they think they might be there's a shot (he'll play). If not, we'll definitely keep him out."

If Letang is out, David Warsofsky is expected to fill in at the point on the top power-play unit. He spent 45 seconds with the second unit Tuesday while making his Penguins debut after being called up from the minors.

"He's auditioning a little bit," Johnston said.

The Kings have won nine of their last 11 at home and are trying to win five straight as host for the first time since Jan. 28-Feb. 24.

Anze Kopitar sealed the latest victory Tuesday, scoring in overtime of a 2-1 win over Vancouver after holding a 40-16 shot advantage - 18-1 after the second period.

Tyler Toffoli, though, is having trouble finding the back of the net lately. Of the right wing's team-high 11 goals, only two have come in the past 14 games. He has none in four career meetings with the Penguins.

"He hasn't played as well lately," coach Darryl Sutter said. "He had two great (opportunities) last game. He shot right into the glove, one was, I think, he couldn't get it up. As long as he's getting good chances, and if he's not, then you've got a problem."

Jonathan Quick will likely get the nod in net. He's 8-2-0 with a 1.78 goals-against average in his last 10 home games. He's 0-1-2 with a 2.45 GAA in his past three home matchups with the Penguins.


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