Get your game notes: Lightning at Penguins

Tonight on NBCSN, it’s the Pittsburgh Penguins hosting the Tampa Bay Lightning at 7 p.m. ET. Following are some game notes, as compiled by the NHL on NBC research team:

• Despite TB and PIT’s recent struggles, these two teams are atop the Eastern Conference:

• With 42 points, PIT leads the Eastern Conference through 29 games played, and has a 2-point lead on the Islanders for the Metropolitan Division lead.

• With a win tonight, the Pens would tie their best start through 30 games (44 points) in franchise
history. They also had 44 points through 30 games in the 2012-13 lockout-shortened season.

• This marks the first of a 3-game home stand for PIT, who is coming off a 4-3 (SO) loss at CBJ on Sat.
Pittsburgh, who started the season 13-3-1, has since only won half of its past 12 games (6-3-3).

• TB enters tonight on its worst stretch of play this season having dropped 3 of its last 4 games (1-3-0), but with 41 points, the Lightning are tied with Detroit for the Atlantic Division lead and the 2nd overall spot in the East.

• Tampa Bay’s 41 points and 19 wins through 31 games are both franchise records.

• Tonight’s game is the 2nd of a 5-game East-Coast road trip after TB lost 4-2 at WSH on Saturday.

• The Lightning have now lost 4 of their last 5 road games (1-3-1).

• PIT looks to extend winning streak vs. TB: PIT is riding a 9-game win streak vs. TB, as well as a 7-game home winning streak vs. the Lightning…

• TB last beat the Pens on Nov. 17, 2011, a 4-1 win in Tampa.

• TB last beat the Pens in Pittsburgh on Mar. 31, 2010, a 2-0 win.

• PIT’s 9-game winning streak vs. TB is the team’s longest active win streak vs. any opponent, and tied for the fourth-longest active winning streak any team has against another team in the NHL.

• Pittsburgh Captain F Sidney Crosby now has the mumps: He was diagnosed on Sunday…

•��Crosby sat out the Pens’ previous two games for precautionary reasons before being officially diagnosed on Sunday. He will be out for at least tonight’s game, although the team said today that Crosby has passed the contagious phase and is no longer infectious.

• Crosby and NYR F Derick Brassard became the 13th and 14th confirmed cases within the NHL yesterday; the two faced off in the PIT-NYR game last Monday.

• Power play struggles: Both PIT (26.3%; 2nd in NHL) and TB (21.7%; 9th) rank in the top-10 league-wide on the PP, but both units have been slumping of late…

• PIT has gone 0-10 in its last 3 games, and just 1-23 in its last 8 games.

• Malkin is tied for the NHL lead with 8 power play goals (w/ 3 others)

• TB went 0-4 on the PP on Sat. against WSH, and is just 2-19 in its last 6 games

• The Lightning are 16-0-1 when scoring on the man-advantage this season.

TAMPA BAY TEAM/PLAYER NOTES

• Captain F Steven Stamkos missed 45 games last season with a broken leg, but he has played in all 31 of TB’s games this season.

• Stamkos leads the team in goals (17; T-3rd in NHL), points (34; T-5th), and power play goals (6; T-7th).

• With his goal against the Capitals on Dec. 9, Stamkos became the 10th-youngest player in NHL history to reach the 250-goal milestone (24 years, 305 days).

• Stamkos has 22 points (8G-14A) in 21 career GP vs. PIT.

• After a rookie campaign that earned him a Calder Trophy nomination with 24G-26A, F Tyler Johnson is improving on his numbers from a season ago.

• Through 31 games, Johnson leads the team in assists (21), plus/minus (+17), and ranks 2nd in points (30).

• Johnson’s +17 rating is T-2nd in the NHL (Filip Forsberg – NSH; +24).

• Johnson has 9 points (3G-6A) in his last 9 games.

• F Nikita Kucherov is another 2nd-year player improving on his 2013-14 numbers.

• Kucherov has already surpassed his 9G-9A in 52 games last season with 11G-15A through 31 games this season.

• His 26 points are 3rd on the team (Stamkos, Johnson).

•  G Ben Bishop has lost 3 straight games, all in regulation, his worst stretch of play this season:

• Those 3 losses have come against WSH (twice) and CBJ.

• Bishop has never lost 4 straight games in regulation.

• This season, Bishop is 16-6-2 with a 2.34 GAA and .914 SV%.

• Bishop only has 3 career appearances (all starts – split between OTT and TB) vs. PIT, but he is 0-2-0 with a 4.43 GAA and .876 SV% in those games (11 goals against).

PITTSBURGH TEAM/PLAYER NOTES

• F Evgeni Malkin had an assist in the loss to CBJ on Saturday to extend his point streak to 4 games (3G-3A).

• Malkin ranks 3rd in the NHL in scoring this season (36 points), trailing Jakub Voracek (37) and Tyler Seguin (38).

• Malkin – the 2012 Hart (MVP) and Art Ross (top scorer) Trophy winner – leads PIT in goals (15) and points (36) this season.

• D Kris Letang had a pair of goals on Saturday against Columbus – a shorthanded goal in the 3rd period and the game-tying goal with 10.9 seconds remaining later in the 3rd.

• Letang now has a goal in each of his past 3 games for the first time in his career, and he extended his point streak to a season-high 5 games (4G, 4A).

• Letang has 7G, 14A in 24 GP this season. His 21 points are 8th among NHL defensemen.

• F Blake Comeau scored the other PIT goal on Saturday vs. CBJ. Comeau has goals in consecutive games and now has 10 on the season in just 28 games. His 10 goals are 3rd on the team this season.

• All of Comeau’s 10 goals have come at even-strength, tops on the Penguins.

• Comeau scored 5 goals all of last season, playing in 61 games for Columbus.

• Comeau had career highs in goals (24) and points (46) as a member of the Islanders in 2010-11.

• G Marc-Andre Fleury had the night off on Sat. vs. CBJ; he saved 26 of 27 shots Fri. night in a 3-1 W vs. CGY.

• Fleury is 7-1-2 in his last 10 starts.

• Overall this season, Fleury is 16-4-2 with a 2.10 GAA, .926 SV%, and 5 SO. His 16 wins are T-3rd in the NHL and his 5 shutouts are T-1st (Henrik Lundqvist – NYR).

• Fleury is 15-10-3 with a 2.39 GAA and .911 SV% in 30 career games (28 starts) vs. TB.

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