PITTSBURGH -- Evgeni Malkin received some criticism for his start to the season.
He averaged a point per game during his first 22 games, but also struggled through a 15-game goalless stretch. He scored his first goal in more than a month Nov. 22 during the second period of the Pittsburgh Penguins' 4-3 win against the New York Islanders at Consol Energy Center.
SOG: 87 | +/-: 1
And after missing two games with a lower-body injury, it appears he's ready to return Monday when the Penguins host the Columbus Blue Jackets (7:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN). Coach Dan Bylsma told reporters in Pittsburgh that his lineup would be a game-time decision, but Malkin went through the morning skate in his usual second-line center spot, flanked by Jussi Jokinen and Jayson Megna.
The way Malkin was playing prior to his injury, it should be a boost to the Penguns if Malkin returns.