PITTSBURGH -- Penguins defenseman Kris Letang made a surprise return to the lineup for a key Atlantic Division game Sunday against Philadelphia.
Letang missed three consecutive games with a lower body injury that resulted from him slamming feet first into the boards after he was tripped last Sunday against New Jersey. Letang did not accompany the Penguins on a two-game road trip in which they played the Islanders Thursday and the Sabres Friday.
The Penguins also did not practice Saturday -- coach Dan Bylsma called off a scheduled practice -- but Letang returned to play Sunday despite not being on the ice with the team for a week.
Letang, one of the NHL's premier two-way defensemen, has nine goals and 27 assists in 47 games, missing nearly two months with a concussion earlier in the season.
Letang has 20 points, including three goals, in 26 games against the Flyers, who went into the game trailing Pittsburgh by three points in the Eastern Conference and Atlantic Division standings.