San Jose at Pittsburgh
When: 7:30 PM
ET, Sunday, March 29, 2015
Where: Consol Energy Center, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
The Pittsburgh Penguins look to secure sole possession of second place in the Metropolitan Division when they continue their three-game homestand against the San Jose Sharks on Sunday. Captain Sidney Crosby collected a goal and two assists in just over a four-minute stretch during the third period as the Penguins skated to a 3-2 triumph over Arizona on Saturday. The reigning Hart Trophy winner increased his league-leading point total to 78 as Pittsburgh pulled even in points with the New York Islanders with a game in hand.
Crosby also scored his first goal in seven career meetings with San Jose in a 2-1 shootout loss on March 9. Antti Niemi, who made 39 saves and stopped seven of eight shots in the bonus format to preserve that victory, should be back in the crease after sitting out Saturday afternoon's 3-2 shootout win over Philadelphia. The triumph was the second straight for the Sharks, who improved to 3-3-0 on their seven-game road trip and climbed within six points of Los Angeles in the race for third place in the Pacific Division.
TV: 7:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN, ROOT (Pittsburgh)
ABOUT THE SHARKS (37-30-8): After seeing rookie defenseman Mirco Mueller suffer a thumb injury in Thursday's 6-4 victory over Detroit, San Jose's blue line absorbed another hit as Marc-Edouard Vlasic was felled by an upper-body injury in the first period on Saturday. Coach Todd McLellan immediately ruled Vlasic out versus Pittsburgh and deemed fellow defenseman Scott Hannan questionable to play on Sunday after receiving a cut under his eye following a hit into the boards by Flyers center Nick Cousins. The remaining blue-liners saw a spike in minutes, with Brent Burns logging 27:33 of ice time before ending the contest by scoring in the fifth round of the shootout.
ABOUT THE PENGUINS (41-23-11): Saturday's victory came at a price for Pittsburgh, which saw stud defenseman Kris Letang head to a hospital after a brutal hit from Coyotes captain Shane Doan in the second period. Letang's head snapped back and appeared to hit the boards following the exchange before he received assistance in retreating to the locker room. A Norris Trophy finalist after the 2012-13 season, Letang since has endured a variety of injuries - including a stroke in January 2014 that caused him to miss 45 games.
1. San Jose C Joe Pavelski scored his team-leading 36th goal against Philadelphia and has collected four tallies and two assists in his last seven games.
2. Penguins G Marc-Andre Fleury has lost four of his last five decisions (1-3-1) and is 2-2-3 lifetime versus the Sharks.
3. Niemi owns a 4-1-1 career record against Pittsburgh.
PREDICTION: Sharks 3, Penguins 2
Stats and Records