UNIONDALE, N.Y. -- Despite the fact that Evgeni Malkin skated with James Neal and Steve Sullivan during line rushes as well as on the Pittsburgh Penguins' first power-play unit, coach Dan Bylsma said Tuesday morning that Malkin availability for tonight's game against the Islanders wouldn't be made until game time..
Malkin has missed the last five games and seven of the last eight with a sore knee -- the same the Russian superstar had surgically repaired last season.
Asked what could change between the morning skate and the time he has to submit his lineup for the game against the Islanders, Bylsma joked that he just wanted to have a secret over the media for six hours.
Bylsma, though, said strength and skating is not what is holding Malkin back. Then again, he wouldn't say if anything is holding him back.
"His strength is there," Bylsma said. "I think the skating that he's demonstrated this year is stronger than what we saw from him last year."
Bylsma did announce that Marc-Andre Fleury would be the Penguins' starting goaltender.
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