Cranberry Twp, PA — Pittsburgh Penguins star center Evgeni Malkin has new skates, new sticks, and is itching to score because he hasn’t scored in a long time. Malkin spoke to reporters in the Pittsburgh Penguins locker room at the UPMC Lemieux Complex Wednesday.
Evgeni Malkin had 72 points (21g, 51a) in 68 games last season, but was a disappointing minus-25. He renewed his commitment this summer and told reporters on the first day of training camp, “I want to show everyone I’m not done.”
The Penguins open the 2019-20 season Thursday against the Buffalo Sabres at PPG Paints Arena. Buffalo beat the Penguins in the final preseason game 3-2 via shootout.
Malkin’s presumed linemate Alex Galchenyuk skated Wednesday and is a game-time decision. The Penguins have only 12 healthy forwards and it is unknown how the Penguins would address the shortcoming if Glachenyuk can’t play. Defenseman Juuso Riikola was the placeholder at practice Tuesday when Galchenyuk did not practice.
The Penguins are currently a 20-1 bet to win the Stanley Cup but a renewed Malkin could go a long way to improving the Penguins fortunes. The Penguins have used a myriad of line combinations in preseason and training camp. The team finished second in the Metro Division last season but faced the third-place New York Islanders in the first round of the playoffs.
Malkin had three points (1g, 2a) in the four playoff games.