BOSTON — For a while there, Evgeni Malkin was in a real bad way. Luckily for the Pittsburgh Penguins, however, he snapped out of the funk he was in.
Malkin went 15 games without a goal recently, but he broke that drought Friday against the Islanders, and it’s been part of a recent hot streak for the Russian superstar. On Monday, Malkin was named the NHL’s First Star of the week after he went off with the goal and seven assists over the last week. He’s now among the league leaders in points, thanks to four straight multiple-point nights. Despite not scoring a goal, Malkin leads the league in points this month with 16, with 15 of those coming on assists.
Of course, stopping Malkin is easier said than done, especially given the Penguins’ impressive offensive depth. If anyone can do it, though, it would be the Bruins. They allowed Pittsburgh to score just two goals during last year’s Eastern Conference Finals.
The Bruins may be without two key defensive components from that series, though. Both Adam McQuaid and Dennis Seidenberg are questionable with lower-body injuries. There’s a chance McQuaid will return Monday night, but it’s still uncertain at this point. If neither can go, it will be Kevan Miller and Matt Bartkowski back on the Boston blue line.
Here are the projected lines for the 7 p.m. tilt at TD Garden.
Bruins (15-6-2, 32 points)
Milan Lucic — David Krejci — Jarome Iginla
Brad Marchand — Patrice Bergeron — Loui Eriksson
Carl Soderberg — Chris Kelly — Reilly Smith
Daniel Paille — Gregory Campbell — Shawn Thornton
Zdeno Chara — Dougie Hamilton
Torey Krug — Johnny Boychuk
Matt Bartkowski — Kevan Miller
Penguins (15-9-0, 32 points)
Chris Kunitz — Sidney Crosby — Pascal Dupuis
Jussi Jokinen — Evgeni Malkin — James Neal
Brian Gibbons — Brandon Sutter — Matt D’Agostini
Zach Sill — Joe Vitale — Craig Adams
Paul Martin — Brooks Orpik
Olli Maatta — Kris Letang
Matt Niskanen — Deryk Engelland