The top two scorers in the NHL — Pittsburgh’s Evgeni Malkin and Sidney Crosby — will face one of their stiffest tests of the season against the top team in goals allowed, the Boston Bruins, tonight at Mellon Arena. The Bruins are allowing just 2.11 goals per game through their first 36 contests.
Malkin (15-44-59) and Crosby (15-34-49) have plenty of help though, including Jordan Staal (11-10-21), who tonight will become the youngest player ever to reach 200 games played in the NHL. Another historic note: Crosby will be skating in his 250th career game, and according to the Elias Sports Bureau his 114-229-343 points total is the sixth-most by a player in his first 250 outings.
The Bruins will have their hands full, but if it’s any consolation center Marc Savard is better than a point-per-game performer (38 in 29 games) against the Pens.
Season series: The Bruins and Penguins are meeting for the second time. Pittsburgh won the first meeting, 2-1, in the Bruins’ home-opener. There will be two more meetings between the teams this season, including Thursday night’s rematch in Boston.
Pittsburgh Player to Watch: Former Boston University standout Ryan Whitney has returned to the Penguins’ line-up to give them an offensive dynamic on their back line they lacked with him and Sergei Gonchar (still out) absent. In three games since he returned, Whitney has averaged 23:59 of ice time and one assist in his effort to return to the form that made him a 40-point man last season.