Pittsburgh Penguins star Evgeni Malkin is set to return to the ice Saturday when the team takes on the Winnipeg Jets, according to ESPN.
Malkin has been sidelined with a lower-body injury and has missed the team's last 10 games. He was able to skate Wednesday and has been able to practice with the team this week, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. The Penguins will be taking on the Jets Saturday at home. The team has played well despite Malkin being out, going 5-3-1 during that time.
Malkin said he may need some time to get back to 100 percent after returning from the extended absence, but that he should be fine after a few games. "When you have an injury... you never come back 100 percent," he said.
Malkin has been extremely productive when healthy this season, scoring 49 points in 49 games played. He has 23 goals and 26 assists this season and remains the second leading scorer on the team despite being out. Penguins coach Mike Sullivan called Malkin a "difference maker" and said the team will be much "stronger" with him in the lineup.
The Penguins are also expected to get back center Nick Bonino, who has missed an extended period of time with a hand injury. Bonino is expected to play against the Jets after practicing alongside Malkin earlier in the week.
The Penguins are getting Malkin back at a crucial time, as the team is battling for playoff position in the Eastern Conference. The Penguins are 30-21-8 coming into Friday's schedule, and the team is in second place in the wild card standings with 68 points. The Penguins have a one point lead over the Devils and are two points ahead of the Carolina Hurricanes in the standings.