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by Staff Writer / Pittsburgh Penguins

The Pittsburgh Penguins look to make it four in a row Sunday at 7:30 p.m. at Mellon Arena against the Tampa Bay Lightning.

All fans in attendance will receive an FSN Pittsburgh Evgeni Malkin bobblehead doll.

The Penguins (18-15-6) are surging. They have won their last three games – including the last two over two of the Eastern Conference’s top teams in Carolina and Buffalo.

“We’re solid. I really like the way we’re playing. We got some big wins,” Penguins coach Michel Therrien said. “It’s the way we play that, there’s no doubt the last week has been a really good week. We’re solid in a lot of aspects of our game – 5-on-5 and special teams have been doing their job. I am really optimistic right now.”

Pittsburgh has struggled against Tampa Bay in recent years and hasn’t beaten the Lightning since 2003.

“It’s nothing new for us from the last week or so. We were playing teams in the past that we didn’t have much success against like Toronto, Carolina and Buffalo. Those are some teams that we came up pretty big against and played some solid hockey,” Therrien said. “Tampa Bay is the same thing where we didn’t have the success in the past, so the challenge is going to be there for us. They have some quality players in Richards, St. Louis and Lecavalier. Every time you’re going against quality players, you really have to be aware of them. They have good forwards and we have to respect them, but in the meantime, we have to play our own game and make sure we buy into the system and our game plan.”

Sidney Crosby had an assist Friday against the Sabres to boost his NHL-leading points total to 62 (19+43) in 36 games. Atlanta’s Marian Hossa is second with 58 points (26+32) in 44 games.

Penguins center Evgeni Malkin had a goal and an assist in Buffalo to give him 39 points (19+20) in 35 games, which leads all NHL rookies. Los Angeles center Anze Kopitar is second with 36 points (11+35) in 43 games.

After the game, the Penguins embark on a three-game roadtrip starting Tuesday in Tampa Bay.

FSN Pittsburgh will televise Sunday’s contest at 7:30 p.m., while 105.9 The X will start its radio broadcast with a pregame show at 7 p.m. The broadcast may be found live through streaming audio on as well. Tune in for Penguins Hotline following every game on 105.9 The X and the Penguins Radio Network. Join in the conversation with host Bob Grove by calling the Penn Telecom toll-free line at 1-866-922-2874.Email and maybe Bob Grove or Phil Bourque will answer your question during the second intermission of the game.


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