In advance of the Pittsburgh Penguins game against the Dallas Stars on Saturday afternoon, Penguins head coach Mike Sullivan confirmed his star center Evgeni Malkin will not return to the Penguins lineup. However, Sullivan will have significant juggling as red-hot Bryan Rust and Brock McGinn were added to COVID protocol.
Rust had 11 points, including seven goals in the last three games. He has played just 15 games this season after two lower-body injuries. McGinn played in every game this season (33), with 13 points (9-4-13).
Jeff Carter will return to the lineup. He has not yet played in 2022 after entering the COVID protocol in late December. It was Carter’s second protocol absence this season.
Malkin, 35, had knee successful right knee surgery, reported by the team on June 4. He suffered a knee injury in a collision with Boston Bruins defenseman Jarrod Tinordi on March 16. Malkin returned for the Penguins’ Round One playoff series against the New York Islanders. In four playoff games, Malkin had five points (1-4-5) and PHN graded him as one of the best Penguins forwards in the series, which the Islanders won in six games.
The Penguins cleared roster spots on Friday by sending Radim Zohorna to the WBS Penguins, and moving goalie Louis Domingue to the taxi squad.
Evgeni Malkin is in the final year of his contract but recently cracked up the media rooms and downplayed any worries about a new deal with the Penguins.
The Penguins were nearly at full strength. Malkin remains on the IR with Jason Zucker, who has a lower-body injury. Rust, McGinn, and Drew O’Connor are the Penguins in COVID protocol.
Counting Saturday, the Penguins have 49 games remaining. The Pittsburgh Penguins will face the Dallas Stars at 2 p.m. EST.