PITTSBURGH -- Pittsburgh Penguins star Evgeni Malkin skated on his own again Sunday morning but will not play in the team's afternoon game against the Boston Bruins as he continues to recover from an upper-body injury.
Malkin, the NHL's reigning MVP and scoring champion, will sit out his fifth consecutive game and for the ninth time in the Penguins' past 12 contests. The team has said the latest injury is unrelated to a concussion that kept him out of four games from Feb. 24-March 2.
Malkin, who has four goals and 19 assists in 21 games this season, is believed to have sustained the current injury while absorbing a check from the Toronto Maple Leafs' James van Riemsdyk late in the third period of a game March 9. Malkin took one shift after the hit, which occurred along the boards in the neutral zone, but did not play the final two minutes of regulation nor during overtime.
The Penguins are 6-2 without Malkin this season, winning each of the past four games without the two-time Art Ross Trophy winner. Pittsburgh (21-8-0) has won eight consecutive games overall and can take over sole possession of the Eastern Conference lead with a win Sunday against Boston.
The No. 2 pick in the 2004 NHL Draft, Malkin had 50 goals and 59 assists last season and has 551 points in 448 career games. With Malkin out, the Penguins have used Dustin Jeffrey and Brandon Sutter in his place centering their second line.
With Malkin down, the Penguins have not had any healthy scratches among their forwards over the past week. If any of their forwards were to be injured, the team would be forced to dress seven defensemen unless it made a roster move.