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Stanley Cup Final
At the Rink blog

Malkin a game-time decision

Tuesday, 10.25.2011 / 12:54 PM

By Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer / At the Rink blog

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At the Rink blog
Malkin a game-time decision
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.

Follow Dan Rosen on Twitter at: @drosennhl

Quote of the Day

That's a really tough thing to play through; when you finally are thrown out there, the game is fast, intense, every single play matters, you've got to find a way to play through that and make smart plays. So it's a huge testament to [Vermette] and some other individuals in our locker room that are putting their own ego, their own wants and needs aside, and are ready for those opportunities when they do come.

— Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews on teammate Antoine Vermette, who returned from being a healthy scratch in Game 3 to score the double-overtime winner in Game 4