The Pittsburgh Penguins hope recent history repeats itself Tuesday as they attempt to clinch a playoff spot with a road win over the Buffalo Sabres for the second time in three years. A victory, which would be its third straight, also could put Pittsburgh in the lead for the Presidents' Trophy.

The Penguins, who trail Metropolitan Division rivals Washington and Columbus by one point for first overall in the NHL, have outscored their opponents 10-4 in their last two games as they moved closer to their franchise record-tying 11th straight postseason berth. Captain Sidney Crosby recorded half of those goals to raise his season total to a league-high 40 and move within two points of Edmonton's Connor McDavid (82) for first in the race for the Art Ross Trophy. Buffalo is aiming for its third consecutive victory after concluding its four-game road trip with 2-1 triumphs in Anaheim and Detroit. Jack Eichel produced two of the four goals recorded by the Sabres on their trek, including one in Monday's win over the Red Wings to remain two points ahead of Ryan O'Reilly (48) for the team scoring lead.

TV: 7 p.m. ET, ROOT (Pittsburgh), MSG (Buffalo)

ABOUT THE PENGUINS (45-17-9): Pittsburgh will be without Evgeni Malkin for a third straight game as the Russian superstar deals with an upper-body injury. "Geno is making progress, but we are not going to take him to Buffalo," coach Mike Sullivan told reporters on Monday. "He is going to stay back. We think it's a better situation for him to stay (in Pittsburgh) and rehab, so we made that decision." Crosby was named the NHL's Second Star of the Week after collecting six goals - including his 10th career hat trick in Sunday's 4-0 win over Florida - and two assists in four games.

ABOUT THE SABRES (30-31-12): Matt Moulson continues to be a dangerous weapon on the power play for Buffalo, as 11 of his 14 goals this season have come with the man advantage. The 33-year-old left wing is three power-play tallies shy of matching the career high he set in 2011-12 with the New York Islanders. Defensemen Casey Nelson and Brady Austin were in the lineup Monday after being recalled from Rochester of the American Hockey League earlier in the day, with the latter registering three shots over 15 minutes, 37 seconds of ice time in his NHL debut.


1. Crosby's next assist will be the 641st of his career, moving him past Jaromir Jagr for second place on the franchise list.

2. Buffalo D Rasmus Ristolainen leads the NHL with 24 power-play assists.

3. Pittsburgh Ds Olli Maatta and Kris Letang have missed 14 and 11 games, respectively, with upper-body injuries but are making progress, according to Sullivan.

PREDICTION: Penguins 6, Sabres 2