Pittsburgh Penguins Gameday 30: San Jose Sharks

San Jose Sharks (19-3-5) @ Pittsburgh Penguins (19-9-1)
ROOT, CSN-CA – 7:00 pm/et 
Consol Energy Center – Pittsburgh, PA

TK returns! Malkin is out! The Sharks are in town!


Leading Scorers:

Penguins: Sidney Crosby (15G, 23A: 38P)
Sharks: Joe Thornton (5G, 25A: 30P)

Probable Starting Goaltenders:

Penguins: Marc-Andre Fleury (15-7-1, 2.06 GAA, .918 Sv% )
Sharks: Antti Niemi (16-3-5, 2.21 GAA, .952 Sv%)

Notes & Lines: "Malkin Out VS Sharks, TK Returns"

Last Games:

Penguins: Defeated New York Islanders 3-2 [OT].
Sharks: Defeated Toronto Maple Leafs 4-2.

Official Previews from Team Websites: [Penguins] [Sharks]

Opposition Blog: [Fear the Fin]
What They're Saying: "Another test against a cup contender"

It's weird to think there was a time when the Penguins didn't have Stanley Cup history. They won their first cup the year I was born, they won their second cup before my first birthday and they wrapped up their third cup just a few years ago. They have won two cups since the Sharks came into the league, winning their first the year prior, and while they slumped post-Mario Lemieux it landed them Sidney Crosby, so, the Penguins are doing alright.

At 39 points, the Penguins have the most points in the eastern conference. That's weird, since 39 points is only good enough to get you fifth place in the west this year (sorry, St. Louis). That being said they have played very, very well. They're a top five Fenwick team, just below the Sharks in terms of Fenwick-for and are riding a four-game win streak (five-game point streak).

What Happened Last Time: November 2, 2011 – Pens lost 4-3 in a shootout [Our Recap]

Although the Sharks aren't even at the top of their own division, it's no question the Sharks are a great barometer for where the Pens are in the NHL. No surprise it is right at the top. If the Penguins blew a two-goal lead while at full capacity, we'd be upset. But without Crosby, Staal, Kennedy, and Michalek, and then playing a solid chunk of this game with only 5 D, the Pens played right with the Sharks.

This was one of the more entertaining games of the season. Just two good hockey teams going back and forth. There is no one to blameand no fingers to point. Until this team is healthy for more than a five-game stretch, if you attempt to provide diagnosis of anything, you're not being realistic. It is hard to remember a more bizarre stretch of injuries in a Penguins season.

INJURY UPDATE: Ben Lovejoy has a broken wrist.

Penguins Player(s) to Watch: Brandon Sutter. He'll be on the second line tonight.

Sharks Player(s) to Watch: Joe Thornton, because we're always kind of rooting for him to score four goals.

Gif that Seems Appropriate for Today's Game: 

An all time classic.