Even without Crosby, Penguins dangerous

BOSTON -- Penguins superstar and captain Sidney Crosby confirmed Saturday that he will not be making his much-anticipated return from a concussion on Sunday against the Bruins. But the Bruins know that doesn’t mean the Penguins, winners of eight straight, will be any less dangerous.

B's defenseman Mike Mottau knows the Penguins well, after having played most of his career until becoming a Bruin in the Atlantic Division as a Ranger, Devil and Islander. And he knows how talented the Penguins are with or without Crosby.

“I mean, they’re still a great team,” Mottau said. “They have a lot of depth even with him out of the lineup. They’re right there in the standings and it’s another team that we could face in the playoffs as well, so it’s something we don’t really look to see who’s in the lineup. He’s a great player, but you don’t really base your game plan around one guy.”

One Penguin the Bruins will definitely be aware of is center Evgeni Malkin, who heading into NHL action Saturday was second in league scoring with 81 points and is a leading candidate for the Hart Trophy.

“He’s a big guy and you can’t really get into wrestling matches with him,” Mottau said of Malkin. “Maybe ‘Z’ [Zdeno Chara] can and maybe outmuscle him, but from my experience you just need to stay on the defensive side of the puck and get in good position. He’s a world-class talent that finds his wingers even when you shut him down a little bit. You just try and contain him, take a little time and space away and not get on the wrong side of the puck.”

Malkin has been known to score some highlight-reel goals, and Mottau knows from experience that opponents can’t play scared against him.

“Those guys are going to make those plays and I’ve been on the wrong side of them,” Mottau said with a chuckle. “He’s going to make those plays and you can’t think about it and be on your heels waiting for them. You just have to play your game.”