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Malkin, Letang, Ehrhoff remain out for Penguins

by Wes Crosby /

PITTSBURGH -- Pittsburgh Penguins forward Evgeni Malkin will not play Saturday against the Columbus Blue Jackets at Nationwide Arena.

Malkin, who leads Pittsburgh with 28 goals and is second on the team with 70 points, will miss a second consecutive game with an undisclosed injury, Penguins coach Mike Johnston said. He could return Sunday against the Philadelphia Flyers.

"I think anytime you can have Geno in the lineup, you want Geno in the lineup, for sure," Johnston said. "With a back-to-back coming off an injury, especially a nagging injury, we knew coming into the weekend, that if he is able to play, it was probably only going to be one game. We'll see how he recovers from the skate today and hope he'll be able to play on Sunday.

"But we'll see."

After being absent from the Penguins' March 31 practice because of a maintenance day, Malkin was a late scratch Wednesday. He was replaced by center Brandon Sutter on the second line between left wing Chris Kunitz and right wing Steve Downie.

Following Pittsburgh's 4-1 loss to the Flyers, Johnston said a slight injury was found during Malkin's maintenance day that had him listed as day-to-day.

Johnston said he is sure Malkin, who returned to practice Thursday, will be ready to play against the Ottawa Senators on Tuesday. Malkin returned from missing six games with a lower-body injury against the Arizona Coyotes on March 28.

He had two assists against the Coyotes before being scoreless in a 3-2 shootout win against the San Jose Sharks the following night.

"I rushed [his previous lower-body injury]," Malkin said. "I came back a little too early and didn't feel good after back-to-back games."

Pittsburgh is 1-5-1 in its past seven games without Malkin. It won each of its recent games with him available, March 28 and 29.

The Penguins will be without defenseman Christian Ehrhoff, who will miss each of Pittsburgh's weekend games. Ehrhoff, who has been in and out of the lineup over the past two months, will be sidelined for a fifth and sixth straight game because of an upper-body injury.

Johnston said Ehrhoff will resume skating with strength and conditioning coach Mike Kadar while the Penguins are on the road. If Ehrhoff's condition improves, Pittsburgh could bring him on the road earlier next week.

No update was provided on defenseman Kris Letang, who has not skated since sustaining a concussion against Arizona.

With Malkin out, Pittsburgh was able to add a sixth defenseman, recalling Taylor Chorney from the AHL. The Penguins lost to the Flyers with five defensemen.

"Because of the rules, we're allowed to recall a defenseman," Johnston said. "We played short a player last game, we still have an injury, so we're allowed to recall a defenseman. So [Chorney] is up with us and will play tomorrow and be available for us depending on what happens after that."

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