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Malkin to return for Penguins to face Flyers

by Brian Hunter /

PENGUINS (42-25-11) at FLYERS (31-29-18)


Season series: The Philadelphia Flyers are attempting to complete a season sweep of the Pittsburgh Penguins. Goalie Steve Mason, who will start for the Flyers, made 24 saves Wednesday at Consol Energy Center. Eleven Flyers have scored a goal, led by two from forward Brayden Schenn. Fifteen Flyers have at least one point, led by forwards Sean Couturier (1-3-4) and Jakub Voracek (0-4-4).

Penguins team scope: Forward Evgeni Malkin missed the game against the Flyers on April 1 and sat out Saturday against the Columbus Blue Jackets with an undisclosed injury, but will return to the lineup. "It seems like things are moving along," coach Mike Johnston said prior to the game Saturday. "There was good reaction to [the Friday] skate when he skated with our team, so plans are still looking at [Sunday] morning and see how he is." Forward Steve Downie will be out with an upper-body injury. Center Sidney Crosby, who scored his 300th NHL goal in the previous game against Philadelphia, scored in the 5-3 loss to Columbus for his 850th point. Crosby has three goals and four assists during a five-game point streak. Pittsburgh holds the first wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Eastern Conference with four regular-season games remaining; they are 3-7-1 since March 14.

Flyers team scope: This is the start of a season-ending four-game homestand for Philadelphia, which is 21-9-7 at Wells Fargo Center. The Flyers have won seven in a row against the Penguins dating to last season. Forward Michael Raffl has four goals in his past five games after scoring Saturday in a 3-2 shootout loss to the Carolina Hurricanes. Raffl's goal came on the power play, where the Flyers are third in the NHL at 22.9 percent. Voracek, who is battling Crosby among others for the League scoring lead, had a five-game point streak (eight assists) end.

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