The Pittsburgh Penguins will not have their full complement of centers on Friday night when they visit the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden. Evgeni Malkin is out. Also, winger Jason Zucker skated with the team for the first time in weeks.
Malkin was a scratch on Tuesday night due to a non-Covid illness.
During the Friday morning, Malkin took line rushes with Rickard Rakell on the left and Bryan Rust on the right. However, without Malkin, Jeff Carter moved up to the second line with the wingers, Teddy Blueger returned to the third-line center spot, and Brian Boyle will center the fourth line.
Due to a lack of available forwards, the Penguins dressed only 11 forwards.
Defenseman Mark Friedman dressed as the seventh defenseman, though he is unlikely to take shifts as a forward.
Evgeni Malkin has 28 points (13-15-28) in 29 games. He returned to the Pittsburgh Penguins lineup on Jan. 11 after having knee surgery in June.
Also on Friday morning, Penguins Twitter reported that Jason Zucker skated with the team, but in a non-contact jersey. Zucker had core muscle surgery and has missed the last 27 games and 34 of 35.