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Ovechkin, Malkin could return on 12-game Saturday

NHL.com @NHL
Look out, NHL goaltenders: Evgeni Malkin and Alex Ovechkin are just about ready to play again.

Both the NHL's reigning scoring champion and MVP have missed a couple of weeks -- Malkin with a shoulder problem and Ovechkin with an upper-body strain. But both could be back Saturday night as part of the NHL's 12-game schedule.

Malkin skated again at practice on Friday, will take the morning skate on Saturday and hopes to be ready for Pittsburgh's home game against Boston (7:30 p.m. ET). The Penguins can certainly use him: Pittsburgh has lost its last four games and has scored just once in the last three. The Pens' power play hasn't produced a goal since Malkin went down on Oct. 30.

Ovechkin, who was injured on Nov. 1, sat out again Friday when Washington beat Minnesota 3-1 but hopes to be in the lineup when the Capitals travel to New Jersey (7 p.m.). Ovechkin practiced Friday morning and said he felt "99 percent."

"Let's wait 'til tomorrow for what's going to happen tomorrow," Ovechkin told NHL.com. "Right now team play well, so I hope they're going to play the same way when I come back."

There are 10 other games on Saturday's schedule, beginning with an afternoon contest between the New York Rangers and Ottawa Senators at Scotiabank Place (2 p.m. ET). Both clubs are coming off Thursday night losses -- the Rangers at home to Atlanta, the Senators at Philadelphia.

In addition to the Caps and Devils, three other games face off at 7 p.m.

Calgary makes a rare visit to Toronto (CBC, NHL Network-U.S.) in a battle of two teams that lost Friday night. The Flames were beaten 2-1 in a shootout at Buffalo, while Toronto lost 3-2 at Chicago. The Flames have never had much success at the Air Canada Centre -- they've never won in regulation there; Calgary's last non-OT or shootout win in Toronto came in 1994.

Buffalo tries for two wins in as many nights when it visits Philadelphia. The Flyers whipped the Sabres 5-2 in Buffalo eight days ago and are trying for their sixth consecutive victory.

Florida comes home after a 1-0 shootout win at Boston on Thursday to host the New York Islanders. The Isles, playing the third game of a seven-game trip, won 4-3 at Carolina on Friday but have lost their last six visits to South Florida.

At 7:30, the Anaheim Ducks pay their first visit of the season to Detroit. The Ducks have lost the first two games of their road trip, including a 3-2 shootout loss at Columbus on Friday. The Red Wings are coming off back-to-back wins over Columbus and Vancouver.

Also at 7:30, the Los Angeles Kings will try to rebound from a 7-0 loss at Atlanta on Friday when they visit Tampa Bay. The Lightning is still unbeaten in regulation at the St. Pete Times Forum after Thursday's 4-3 shootout win over Minnesota.

Three more games face off at 8 p.m. ET.

In Nashville, the Predators get a rare visit from the Montreal Canadiens. It's only the sixth time the Canadiens have been to the Sommet Center since Nashville entered the NHL in 1998. Both teams are coming off road wins on Thursday: Nashville finished off a four-game trip with a 3-1 win at St. Louis, while the Canadiens won 4-2 at Phoenix.

The Coyotes will try to rebound from the loss to Montreal when they host Dallas in the first of six meetings between the Pacific Division rivals. The Stars are coming off one of their best wins of the season, a come-from-behind 3-2 shootout victory at San Jose.

The Sharks will try to rebound from the loss to the Stars when they visit St. Louis. The Blues continue to have trouble at home -- they are 2-6-1 at the Scottrade Center. San Jose is 7-4-1 away from the HP Pavilion and 8-0-2 in its last 10 games overall.

In the lone late game, Vancouver concludes a five-game road trip with a visit to Colorado (10 p.m. ET, CBC). The teams have split 3-0 shutout wins in their two meetings this season. One highlight for Avs fans will be the debut of the team's new third jerseys.






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