The Pittsburgh Penguins are hoping star Evgeni Malkin can return this week from an injury, and his next chance to play will be on Wednesday against the Boston Bruins.
Malkin has been out for nine straight games for the Penguins with a lower-body injury, and he has not played in a game since Feb. 2. According to the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, Malkin has been making progress while skating on his own, but he has not yet rejoined the team in practice. Coach Mike Sullivan said to the media that Malkin will need to get some practice time in before getting back into the starting lineup.
The Penguins will practice later on Tuesday, and if Malkin has made enough progress to participate, he could play on Wednesday against the Bruins. If Malkin misses that game, his next chance to play will be on Saturday against the Winnipeg Jets. According to the Penguins team Twitter account, Sullivan said that Malkin is "close," and that he has "skated the last few days and it went well."
Dave Molinari at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports that the Penguins have placed Malkin on the injured-reserve list for the time being. Molinari writes that since Malkin has missed over a week, he can be activated from the list at any time by the Penguins. The team made the move after recalling Matt Murray to make room on the roster.
The Penguins have missed Malkin's scoring touch, but the team has been playing well in his absence. The Penguins won over the Sabres on Sunday, and the team has won five of the last eight games that Malkin has missed. Phil Kessel has been playing with Sidney Crosby while Malkin has been out, and he has performed well, scoring three times in the last two games.
The Penguins are hoping that Malkin can continue his productive season when he returns from injury. Malkin is averaging one point per game this season, putting up 49 points in 49 games played, including 23 goals and 26 assists.