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Penguins' Malkin set to play Friday vs. Sabres

Thursday, 02.03.2011 / 1:51 PM / NHL Insider


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Penguins' Malkin set to play Friday vs. Sabres
The Penguins, still without Sidney Crosby and now dealing with the loss of Mark Letestu for 4-6 weeks, will get Evgeni Malkin back in the lineup for Friday's game against the Sabres.
The Pittsburgh Penguins have won four straight without Evgeni Malkin, so how good will they be with him back in the lineup?

They'll find out Friday, when the high-scoring center plays against the Buffalo Sabres. It'll be his first game since Jan. 18 due to a knee injury and a sinus infection.

Malkin has been practicing with the team for a few days, and coach Dan Bylsma on Thursday pronounced him healthy and ready to play.

It's good timing for the Penguins, because a team renowned for being deep in centers is running short in the position. Sidney Crosby is working his way back from a concussion, and the team announced Mark Letestu needs surgery on his left knee.

"Mark Letestu is scheduled for surgery and will be (out) approximately 4-6 weeks," Bylsma said. "I'm still not quite sure how he got the injury. It is involving his meniscus."

Crosby will continue his rehabilitation from the concussion that has sidelined him since Jan. 5 at home in Cole Harbour, N.S. He was given permission on Sunday to begin light exercises.

"Sidney Crosby is going out of town for a few days to visit his parents," Bylsma said. "He continues his functional rehab and light exercises."

A banged-up team had a lightly-populated practice Thursday, as defensemen Brooks Orpik and Kris Letang and forward Mike Rupp all sat out. However, Bylsma said he expects all three in the lineup Friday against the Sabres

"The players that were not on the ice today (Orpik, Letang and Rupp), we expect them to be back on the ice with us and available to play (Friday)," Bylsma said.

That list does not include forward Arron Asham, who is day-to-day with an upper-body injury.
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You don't see many. The [Drew] Doughtys, the [P.K.] Subbans, those are guys that create offense from the back and then on top of that ability, the size that he has. In the West you play against some pretty big players, and being able to clear the crease and contain the [Ryan] Getzlafs and the [Corey] Perrys and [Anze] Kopitars and players like that, we're excited about him going back there.

— Sharks general manager Doug Wilson on Brent Burns returning back to defense