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Penguins' Malkin hoping to return Saturday

Pittsburgh forward has missed nine games with lower-body injury

by Matt Kalman / Correspondent

BOSTON -- Injured Pittsburgh Penguins forward Evgeni Malkin said Wednesday he hopes to return to the lineup against the Winnipeg Jets on Saturday.

Malkin, however, will not play against the Boston Bruins at TD Garden on Wednesday (7:30 p.m. ET; NBCSN, SN1, TVA Sports). He has missed nine games with a lower-body injury.

"That's the plan, you know. I'm trying," Malkin said after the Penguins' morning skate. "We have time. I [don't want to] come back too soon. ... It's the plan to come back when at home and against Winnipeg."

Malkin and center Nick Bonino, who has missed 16 games with a hand injury, skated with the Penguins one day after participating in a practice. Coach Mike Sullivan said the Penguins are "hopeful" each will be available against the Jets.

The Penguins are 5-3-1 in Malkin's absence and they've won two of their past three games. Rookies Scott Wilson (three goals in three games) and Tom Kuhnhackl (one goal), and veteran Matt Cullen (two goals in three games) have helped pick up the offensive slack.

"I mean you need that to win," Penguins captain Sidney Crosby said. "Those guys have come in and a lot of them are kind of new to the situation and roles, but they've done a great job with it. So when you're kind of going through that many injuries all at once, you need big plays, you need guys to step up and we've had that."

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