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Malkin, Galchenyuk skate on own, won't travel with Penguins on road trip

Forwards who remain out with lower-body injuries joined on sidelines by defenseman Dumoulin

by Wes Crosby / Independent Correspondent

CRANBERRY, Pa. -- Evgeni Malkin and Alex Galchenyuk will not travel with the Pittsburgh Penguins on an upcoming three-game road trip, coach Mike Sullivan said Monday after the injured forwards skated in full equipment for about an hour before practice.

The Penguins will play their seventh straight game without them against the Florida Panthers at BB&T Center on Tuesday (7 p.m. ET; ESPN+, FS-F, ATTSN-PT, NHL.TV).

Pittsburgh has won five of six games without Malkin and Galchenyuk. Malkin has missed seven games with a lower-body injury since tripping over Penguins defenseman Kris Letang during a game Oct. 5; Galchenyuk has been out the past six games with a lower-body injury that has nagged him since late September.

"We're working hard," said center Sidney Crosby, who leads the Penguins with 12 points (four goals, eight assists) in nine games. "We're playing together and we're giving ourselves a chance every night. That's all you can do."

Video: COL@PIT: Crosby scores on backhand after nifty move

The Penguins will also be without top-pair defenseman Brian Dumoulin on Tuesday. He will miss at least two games because of a lower-body injury after being a late scratch for Pittsburgh's 3-0 loss to the Vegas Golden Knights on Saturday, Sullivan said.

"[Dumoulin] probably doesn't get enough credit," goalie Matt Murray said. "He's just so steady back there. He does all the little things really, really well. I think that's what makes him so good. ... It's hard to understand exactly how important he is to our team.

"We all love him. It's tough to not see him out there today, but he'll be fine."

In addition to Malkin and Glachenyuk, the Penguins also played the past six games without forwards Bryan Rust (upper body) and Nick Bjugstad (lower body). Rust and Bjugstad each practiced in a no-contact jersey Monday and said they would travel on the trip.

"I think the silver lining is it's provided opportunities for others to step up and play a more significant role," Sullivan said. "I think the team has really rallied around one another through this process. We really like the way the team is playing right now. Our challenge is to continue to bring that necessary mindset and commitment to play the game the right way."

It was the first time Rust has practiced since taking a shot off his hand during the Penguins' final preseason game Sept. 28. He was able to grip his stick with each hand Monday.

"Once I get back, hopefully I'll be able to kind of just make that transition rather flawlessly," Rust said. 

Bjugstad, who has missed seven games, said his recovery has gone faster than he expected after initially being considered out long term.

"You never know," Bjugstad said. "Sometimes with injuries, sometimes they heal quicker than you think. It's definitely exciting, but I'm not going to jump the gun here. We're still trying to make sure it's fully 100 percent."

Forward Jared McCann could return Tuesday after missing two of the past three games with a lower-body injury. He took line rushes in a regular contact jersey at second-line center Monday. 

Video: DAL@PIT: McCann deflects home Pettersson's shot

"It's always great to see guys, what do you want to call it? Graduate? Graduate to the team practice," Crosby said. "I think they bring energy. They bring life. They're excited to be back with the guys. We're happy to see that guys are progressing. So, I think that always kind of picks everyone up."

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