PENGUINS (30-20-8) at BRUINS (32-22-6)
TV: 7:30 p.m. ET; NBCSN, SN1, TVA Sports
BOSTON -- The Pittsburgh Penguins will be without center Evgeni Malkin for at least one more game when they face the Boston Bruins at TD Garden on Tuesday.
Malkin has missed nine games with a lower-body injury and hopes to return Saturday against the Winnipeg Jets. But rookies Scott Wilson (three goals in three games) and Tom Kuhnhackl (one goal), and veteran Matt Cullen (two goals in three games) have helped pick up the offensive slack. The Penguins have averaged three goals per game without Malkin.
Pittsburgh is 5-3-1 in Malkin's absence and has won two of its past three games.
"I mean you need that to win," Penguins captain Sidney Crosby said. "Those guys have come in and a lot of them are kind of new to the situation and roles, but they've done a great job with it. So when you're kind of going through that many injuries all at once, you need big plays, you need guys to step up and we've had that."
The Bruins hold the first wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Eastern Conference with 70 points and the Penguins are the second wild card, two points behind.
"I feel like they're all big now," Crosby said. "We're playing so many teams that are right in that cluster. We're in the playoffs but there's a lot chasing to get in. So I feel like every game from here on is going to be important and this just kind of adds to the list. Everybody needs points at this point and we're just trying to find ways to make sure you continue to get them. We've been doing that and we're not really moving a lot."
The Bruins realize they have to turn around their play on home ice. They've won once in their past five games (1-3-1) at TD Garden, where they are 12-15-3 this season.
Boston is 20-7-3 on the road.
"Definitely we have to play better; there's no doubt there," Bruins coach Claude Julien said. "Our game has been better on the road than it has been at home, so this is something that we have to correct here. ... We can discuss hopefully it after this game tonight and hopefully we respond better."
Here are the projected lineups:
Chris Kunitz - Sidney Crosby - Patric Hornqvist
Carl Hagelin - Matt Cullen - Phil Kessel
Tom Kuhnhackl - Oskar Sundqvist - Bryan Rust
Scott Wilson - Kevin Porter - Conor Sheary
Olli Maatta - Kris Letang
Brian Dumoulin - Trevor Daley
Derrick Pouliot - Ian Cole
Injured: Evgeni Malkin (lower body), Nick Bonino (hand), Ben Lovejoy (upper body), Eric Fehr (lower body), Pascal Dupuis (blood clots), Beau Bennett (upper body)
Scratched: Sergei Plotnikov, Steve Olesky
Brad Marchand - Patrice Bergeron - Brett Connolly
Loui Eriksson - David Krejci - David Pastrnak
Matt Beleskey - Ryan Spooner - Jimmy Hayes
Zac Rinaldo - Joonas Kemppainen - Landon Ferraro
Zdeno Chara - Kevan Miller
Joe Morrow - Dennis Seidenberg
Torey Krug - Adam McQuaid
Injured: Chris Kelly (broken femur)
Scratched: Tyler Randell, Zach Trotman
Status report: Orlesky was called up from Wilkes-Barre/Scranton of the American Hockey League on Wednesday. He did not arrive in time for the Penguins' morning skate but Sullivan expected him to be available.
Who's hot: Letang has five assists during his three-game point streak. ... Beleskey has three goals in his past two games for Boston.