The Penguins won their first two games of the year, but then fell into a 1-2-2 funk before posting recent wins over Minnesota and Montreal. Tonight, Pittsburgh will try for its first three-game winning streak since it closed out the 2010-11 regular season with four straight victories.
After notching a 4-2 win in Minnesota on Tuesday, the Penguins returned home to post Thursday's 3-1 decision over the Canadiens. Joe Vitale's second period goal turned out to be the game winner for the Penguins, who also received tallies from James Neal and Arron Asham.
Marc-Andre Fleury stopped 27 shots for the win and improved his record to 4-2-0 on the season.
Crosby is still out indefinitely after suffering a concussion in January. However, Malkin could play tonight after missing four straight and six of the last seven games with a sore right knee -- the same knee that the Russian forward had season-ending surgery on in February.
Malkin has one goal and three assists in three games this year and is considered day-to-day.
"It's definitely good," Pens head coach Dan Bylsma when asked about Malkin's status on Friday. "He's had a couple of practices, good hard practices on the ice with Sidney (Crosby). Today was his first one back in full practice, so that's a good sign. He's doing pretty well and we are still seeing about (Saturday)."
The Devils were in action Friday night against visiting San Jose and dropped a 4-3 shootout decision to the Sharks. The loss snapped New Jersey's three-game winning streak and also marked the Devils' third straight game that went to the shootout.
"We had a chance to win tonight, considering how relatively poorly we played," Parise said. "We're going to have to be better. We're definitely going to have to be a lot better than that."
The Devils will play their third straight game without goaltender Martin Brodeur tonight, as the future Hall of Famer is dealing with a right shoulder injury. It's uncertain if Hedberg or rookie Keith Kinkaid will get the start in net tonight, although Devils head coach Peter DeBoer said he was leaning towards starting the veteran on back-to-back nights. Kinkaid has yet to see action in an NHL game.
In other injury news for the Devils, centerman Jacob Josefson suffered a broken right clavicle in Friday's game and is out indefinitely. Josefson, who was New Jersey's first-round pick (20th overall) in 2009, has one assist in five games this year.
The injury to the young Swede deals a further blow to New Jersey's depth down the middle, as the club is still without top centerman Travis Zajac, who is recovering from surgery to repair his left Achilles' tendon.
Penguins forward Steve Sullivan will be appearing in his 900th NHL game tonight. Sullivan was drafted by New Jersey in the ninth round of the 1994 draft and made his NHL debut with the Devils against Montreal on Feb. 23, 1996.
The 37-year-old Sullivan has three assists in nine games with Pittsburgh this season.
Pittsburgh won four out of six against the Devils last season, but New Jersey has still taken eight of the last 12 meetings between these clubs. The Devils have dropped three in a row and five of their last eight in the Steel City.
New Jersey's last road win over the Pens came at Mellon Arena, which was Pittsburgh's home arena before Consol Energy Center opened at the start of last season.