UPDATE: Pittsburgh Penguins head coach Mike Sullivan confirmed the bad news after the Penguins 2-1 OT loss to the Philadephia Flyers. Star center Evgeni Malkin, who recently scored his 1000th career point will be out week-to-week with an upper body injury. The injury was likely sustained in the second period against St. Louis when defenseman Robert Bortuzzo cross-checked Malkin away from the play. Malkin laid on the ice for several seconds before getting up slowly. Malkin left the game but returned later in the period.
Malkin finished the game, Saturday. His week-to-week status makes his status for the playoffs, should the Penguins secure a berth, uncertain.
The Pittsburgh Penguins were without superstar center Evgeni Malkin Sunday night for their game against the Philadelphia Flyers at PPG Paints Arena. The news that Malkin wasn’t active came just after warmups and dampened the good news that Bryan Rust made his return from injury.
Malkin’s absence was noticed in warm-ups. Suspicions were confirmed when the official line up was tweeted out by the Penguins official Twitter account with Malkin’s name missing.
No Evgeni Malkin for warmups.
That’s a new development.
— Dan Kingerski (@TheDanKingerski) March 17, 2019
Penguin forward Jake Guentzel was asked about the Penguins replacing Malkin before the game and insisted it takes a village.
“It’s hard to replace a guy like that, but we have to do it by committee,” said Guentzel to NBC’s Pierre McGuire. “Everyone is going to have to step up tonight for a win.”
Head coach Mike Sullivan echoed Guentzel’s comments.
“[Malkin] is a guy who can change the game for us,” said Sullivan in a bench interview with McGuire. “It going to take a team effort to replace him tonight, but we are up to it.”
Malkin is having a down year by his standards, but his absence is tough to overcome especially in a pivotal late-season game. The Penguins were forced to replace a 21-goals, 71-point void in their lineup.
Rookie forward Teddy Blueger centered the second line with Phil Kessel and Rust. Blueger has six points (3g, 3a) on the year. The Penguins gave no initial information about Malkin’s absence. Make sure you are following @TheDanKingerski for more up-to-date information on Malkin’s injury and the postgame coverage.