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Penguins' Malkin may return soon

Pittsburgh center making progress after sustaining lower-body injury @NHLdotcom

Pittsburgh Penguins center Evgeni Malkin is getting closer to returning to the lineup, coach Mike Sullivan said Wednesday.

"He skated the last few days and it went well, so the next step is for him to join the team," Sullivan told the Penguins website.

Malkin has missed the past six games with a lower-body injury. At the time he left the lineup, he led the Penguins with 23 goals and 49 points, totals since eclipsed by center Sidney Crosby (24 goals, 53 points).

Center Nick Bonino, who has missed the past 13 games with a hand injury, is skating on his own and getting closer to being able to handle the puck, Sullivan said.

The Penguins, who entered Wednesday holding the second wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Eastern Conference, host the Detroit Red Wings on Thursday (7 p.m. ET; NBCSN, TVA Sports, SNE, SNO, SNP).

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