Pittsburgh Penguins head coach Mike Sullivan did away with the suspense on Monday morning. Rather than classify star center Evgeni Malkin as a game-time decision, which Sullivan typically does for players ready to come off the injured list, the Penguins coach simply declared, “Malkin will play.”
And with that, Malkin will have four games to get his legs back after missing the last 23 games due to a lower-body injury. Malkin last played on March 16 against the Boston Bruins. This season, he has 24 points (8-16-24) in 29 but was on a hot streak before Boston defenseman Jared Tinordi caught him flush with an open-ice hit.
Evgeni Malkin suffered a lower-body injury and has been skating with the team for about one week.
Sullivan also updated the rest of the Pittsburgh Penguins injuries.
–Defenseman Mike Matheson will be out week-to-week with an upper-body injury. Matheson suffered a facial injury on Saturday when goalie Tristan Jarry cleared the puck, but it struck Matheson just below the visor.
Matheson skated off the ice under his own control, but a towel covered his face.
This season, Matheson has 16 points (5-11-16) in 44 games, his first season with the Penguins after the team acquired him from the Florida Panthers as the centerpiece in the Patric Hornqvist trade.
–With Matheson out, it appears Mark Friedman will draw into the lineup. Since the Penguins claimed Friedman off waivers from Philadelphia in February, he has played only two games for the team–both against Philadelphia. It appears his mono-opponent trend will continue on Monday.
–Forward Evan Rodrigues is still termed day-to-day after he suffered an apparent foot injury last week. Rodrigues was hit by Matheson’s slap shot on the boot and immediately dropped to the ice.
Rodrigues has 14 points (7-7-14) in 35 games this season.
–Winger Brandon Tanev skated in full contact mode for the first time since leaving the lineup on April 3 with an upper-body injury. Tanev has been skating in a non-contact sweater.