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NHL Buzz: Malkin returns to lineup for Penguins against Flyers

Seguin makes season debut; Ovechkin, Carlson back for Capitals; Golden Knights could be without Pacioretty @NHLdotcom

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Pittsburgh Penguins

Evgeni Malkin returned to the lineup against the Philadelphia Flyers on Monday (ESPN+, NBCSP, ATTSN-PT, NHL.TV).

The center missed 23 games with a lower-body injury. The Penguins were 16-5-2 since he last played March 16 in a 2-1 loss to the Boston Bruins.

"We work closely with our medical staff and sometimes we have target dates on when we think is the opportune time," Pittsburgh coach Mike Sullivan said. "Obviously those are always subject to change based on the player feedback and whether or not a player is ready or he isn't ready, but there are certain stages of the return to play process that every player needs to go through in order to put that player in a position to be successful when he does return to play, and 'Geno' went through that process, just like every other player does."

Malkin scored 24 points (eight goals, 16 assists) in 29 games.

"It's exciting for me to have another tool out there," forward Jeff Carter said. "I think for the whole team, it's something that they've been kind of looking forward to, getting everybody back healthy and just kind of seeing what we got here with a full lineup. That's one guy back, we got a couple more we've got to get back and then should be looking pretty good."

Defenseman Mike Matheson is week to week after being hit in the face by a puck during the second period of a 3-0 win at the Washington Capitals on Saturday.

Forward Brandon Tanev skated with contact Monday for the first time since sustaining an upper-body injury April 3.

Pittsburgh (34-15-3), which has clinched a berth in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, led the MassMutual East Division by two points over the Washington Capitals and four over the New York Islanders, who also have qualified. -- Adam Kimelman


Washington Capitals

Alex Ovechkin and John Carlson returned to play against the New York Rangers (ESPN+, MSG2, NBCSWA, NHL.TV). 

Ovechkin left after playing one shift in the first period. He missed four games with a lower-body injury the forward sustained against the New York Islanders on April 22.

Carlson missed two games with a lower-body injury the defenseman sustained against the Islanders on April 27.

"The biggest thing is their health," Capitals coach Peter Laviolette said. "…You've seen them out there practicing, participating in full, and yet, when you get to a game, it's a different strain. I feel like there's more demands on your body, so at that point we're making a decision as to what's in the best interest of our team, what's in the best interest of that player. 

"So while we'd love to have them in the lineup, at this point with a handful of games to go (five) we want to make sure we're doing the right thing." 

Ovechkin led Washington with 24 goals in 43 games and at 730 goals in 16 NHL seasons was one from tying Marcel Dionne for fifth in NHL history. Carlson was tied for third among NHL defensemen with 42 points (10 goals, 32 assists) in 49 games.

Forward T.J. Oshie did not play because of personal reasons.

Washington (32-14-5) was second in the MassMutual East Division, two points behind the first-place Pittsburgh Penguins and two ahead of the third-place New York Islanders. Each of the three has clinched a berth in the playoffs. -- Tom Gulitti


Dallas Stars

Tyler Seguin is making his season debut against the Florida Panthers on Monday (BSFL, BSSW+, NHL.TV).

The forward had hip surgery Nov. 2. He was expected to be sidelined for five months.

Seguin led the Stars last season with 50 points (17 goals, 33 assists) in 69 games.

Dallas (21-17-13) was fifth in the eight-team Discover Central Division, three points behind the fourth-place Nashville Predators for the final Stanley Cup Playoff berth. The Panthers, Carolina Hurricanes and Tampa Bay Lightning each already clinched from the division. 


Vegas Golden Knights

Max Pacioretty did not play against the Minnesota Wild (NBCSN, BSN+, BSWI+, ATTSN-RM, NHL.TV). 

Pacioretty did not play the third period of a 3-2 overtime win at the Arizona Coyotes on Saturday because of an undisclosed injury. He scored 51 points (24 goals, 27 assists) in 48 games this season.

The Golden Knights are also without forwards Ryan Reaves (undisclosed), Tomas Nosek (undisclosed) and Nicolas Roy (undisclosed). Reaves and Nosek did not travel for the four-game road trip, which ends at Minnesota on Wednesday.

Peyton Krebs made his NHL debut after being recalled from the taxi squad. The forward scored five points (one goal, four assists) in five games for Henderson of the American Hockey League.

"Anybody that's with us has the potential of playing and our confidence is that 'Krebs' can come in and play," coach Peter DeBoer said.

The Golden Knights, who have qualified for the Stanley Cup Playoffs, led the Colorado Avalanche by four points for first place in the eight-team Honda West Division. -- Jessi Pierce


Toronto Maple Leafs

Justin Holl did not play against the Montreal Canadiens (TSN2, RDS, SNO, NHL.TV), but coach Sheldon Keefe said he does not believe the defenseman will be out long term. 

Holl left in the third period after being hit in the face by the puck during a 5-1 win against the Vancouver Canucks on Saturday.

"He's doing well, he's just feeling uncomfortable today, which is understandable," Keefe said Sunday. "But we're not expecting him to miss any significant time."

Holl scored 19 points (two goals, 17 assists) in 51 games this season.

The Maple Leafs, first in the seven-team Scotia North Division, were nine points ahead of the second-place Edmonton Oilers and have clinched a berth in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. -- Mike Zeisberger


Winnipeg Jets

Adam Lowry returned for the Jets against the Ottawa Senators (TSN5, RDS2, TSN3, NHL.TV).

Lowry missed four games after being hit in the head against the Toronto Maple Leafs on April 22.

"So he got through (practice) today in a (regular) blue sweater," coach Paul Maurice said Sunday. "He was good. Felt strong. Moved right. If he feels good tomorrow, then we'll consider him a player and put some lines back together that we've had in the past."

Maurice said Lowry would go back to center on a line with forwards Andrew Copp and Mason Appleton.

Lowry, who scored 20 points (eight goals, 12 assists) in 46 games, said Sunday he did not have a concussion from the hit by Toronto forward Alex Galchenyuk. He said his neck was bothering him while he was out but that he's eager to play.

"You want to get back into the lineup, you want to contribute," Lowry said. "I know how I'm going to play. I know what I do that makes me effective, and if I'm not doing those things, I'm not going to be an effective player. A couple shifts and I should be right back into it." 

The Jets were third in the seven-team Scotia North Division, five points behind the second-place Edmonton Oilers and two points ahead of the fourth-place Montreal Canadiens. The top four teams in the division qualify for the Stanley Cup Playoffs; the Maple Leafs have already clinched. -- Tim Campbell


Boston Bruins

Kevan Miller is playing for the Boston Bruins at the New Jersey Devils, and defensemen Brandon Carlo could return Tuesday against New Jersey,

"My guess is Kevan will be tomorrow and Carlo Tuesday, but I have to confirm that with the medical staff because they have a plan in place for both of those players, what's the best way for them to come out of it the best for Thursday (against the New York Rangers)," Boston coach Bruce Cassidy said. "So I'll double-check on that."

Miller missed five games from April 15-22 with an undisclosed injury and 20 games from Feb. 21-April 5 with a lower-body injury. He has played the past five games for the Bruins and has scored four points (one goal, three assists) in 24 games this season.

Carlo has missed 17 games with an upper-body injury he sustained in a 4-1 loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins on April 1. He has scored three points (two goals, one assist) in 23 games. 

Boston was fourth in the eight-team MassMutual East Division, one point behind the third-place New York Islanders and eight points ahead of the fifth-place New York Rangers.

The top four teams will qualify for the Stanley Cup Playoffs. The Bruins would clinch if they get at least one point against the Devils or the Washington Capitals defeat the New York Rangers in any fashion.

The Penguins, Capitals and Islanders have already clinched. -- Tracey Myers

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