Evgeni Malkin To Return For Pittsburgh Penguins Saturday Against Jets

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Feb 25, 2016 10:36 AM EST
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Evgeni Malkin
Evgeni Malkin of the Pittsburgh Penguins handles the puck in front of Max McCormick of the Ottawa Senators Feb. 2."

The Pittsburgh Penguins will get star Evgeni Malkin back from an injury on Saturday after a 10-game absence from the starting lineup, according to Joe McDonald at ESPN.

Malkin sat out on Wednesday night against the Boston Bruins, and he now is expected to return against the Winnipeg Jets on Saturday. Malkin was able to participate in the morning skate with the Penguins on Wednesday, and Malkin said that he is "progressing every day" and that he feels "pretty good" since suffering a lower body injury.

Malkin was able to practice for the first time since the injury on Tuesday, according to Jonathan Bombulie of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. Coach Mike Sullivan told the Review that Malkin would need to get some practice time in with the team before returning to the starting lineup. There was a chance that Malkin would be able to play on Wednesday, but the team opted not to rush his return.

The Penguins have not been hurt too much with Malkin out, as the team has gone 5-3-1 with him off the ice. The team is much better off with him in the starting lineup, as he still ranks second on the team in scoring despite missing 10 games. Malkin admitted that he likely will not be 100 percent when he comes back but that he should "be fine" once he plays in a few games and gets used to taking contact again.

Malkin has been very productive when healthy this season, as he has 49 points in 49 games played for the Penguins. Malkin was on a hot streak when he originally went down with an injury, putting up 19 points in his previous 14 games. Sullivan said that the "plan" is for Malkin to play Saturday as long as he doesn't suffer any setbacks.

The Penguins are also expecting to get back center Nick Bonino, who has missed the last 17 games with a hand injury, according to Dave Molinari at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. The Penguins are currently battling for playoff position in the Eastern Conference. The team is 30-21-8 with 68 points, and they are the second wild card team in the postseason standings. The Penguins have a one-point lead over the Devils and a two-point lead over the Hurricanes coming into Thursday.

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