The Pittsburgh Penguins' impressive winning streak began roughly three weeks ago with a wild overtime game against the Montreal Canadiens, and they've continued their run mainly without the help of Evgeni Malkin.
With his return date uncertain, Pittsburgh decided to help fill the void.
Brenden Morrow likely will make his debut Tuesday night for the Penguins, who seek a 13th consecutive victory as they host Montreal in a matchup of two of the Eastern Conference's top teams.
Malkin, the league's reigning MVP, suffered an undisclosed upper-body injury in a win over Florida on Feb. 22 and proceeded to miss the next four games, including a 7-6 victory at Montreal on March 2.
He would play the next three contests but has been out since recording an assist versus Toronto on March 9.
East-leading Pittsburgh (25-8-0) has done quite well without Malkin, though, and extended its winning streak as Tyler Kennedy scored in overtime for a 2-1 victory over rival Philadelphia on Sunday.
The Penguins haven't won 13 in a row since a franchise-record 17-game run March 9-April 10, 1993.
"I think we're a pretty confident team right now," Kennedy said. "I think we know if we stay on the plan and do all the little things we can be successful."
Prior to Sunday's contest, the Penguins acquired longtime Dallas captain Morrow for standout defensive prospect Joe Morrow (no relation) - the team's 2011 first-round pick - and a fifth-round selection in the upcoming draft.
"I'm looking forward to a new challenge and see if I get a boost from a new team, which I'm sure I'm going to with the skill this team has," Morrow said.
Morrow waived his no-trade clause to join Pittsburgh, which seemingly paid a hefty price for a 34-year-old veteran who will become an unrestricted free agent following this season.
"I think we all pride ourselves in playing a certain way and I think he fits right into that mold," said Sidney Crosby, who has an NHL-best 53 points and played with Morrow for Team Canada in the 2010 Winter Olympics. "I think he's going to add to those things and add to what we have here. It's a great acquisition and we're pretty excited."
Morrow had six goals and five assists in 29 games for the Stars and is in line to make his Penguins debut versus the Canadiens, who are coming off a 2-1 loss to Buffalo on Saturday.
Montreal (20-6-5), which trails Pittsburgh by five points for the East lead and has two games in hand, outshot the Sabres 39-18 but scored fewer than two goals for the first time in 12 games.
The Canadiens had averaged 3.9 non-shootout goals since losing 2-1 in a shootout at Ottawa on Feb. 25.
"I thought we played a solid game," coach Michel Therrien said. "I liked our intensity. That's what you ask from your team. The result wasn't on our side."
Montreal had gone 6-0-1 over its previous seven and isn't about to let a tough loss get it down - especially having to face a red-hot Pittsburgh team that has won four of the last five meetings.
"We have to find ways to be resilient, even when things maybe aren't going our way," defenseman Josh Gorges said. "We can't get down 2-0 and hope to climb back every time. We've got to try to get the early lead."
Carey Price could get the start Tuesday, though he's 1-1-2 with a 3.90 goals-against average in his last four starts versus the Penguins.
Marc-Andre Fleury, who has a 0.74 GAA while winning his last four starts, may be in net again for Pittsburgh. He's 3-0-1 with a 2.38 GAA in his last four starts in this series.
The Penguins added another player Monday, acquiring defenseman Doug Murray from San Jose for a pair of second-round picks.
The Associated Press News Service
The Associated Press
All Rights Reserved