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Penguins' Malkin returns to lineup

by Wes Crosby

PITTSBURGH -- Pittsburgh Penguins center Evgeni Malkin was back in the lineup for a game against the Columbus Blue Jackets at Consol Energy Center on Monday night after missing two games with a lower-body injury.

In James Neal's absence, Malkin is skating alongside Jussi Jokinen and Jayson Megna. Malkin left midway through Pittsburgh's morning skate before its game against the San Jose Sharks on Thursday.

Malkin leads the NHL with 30 assists and was the NHL's 'Second Star for November after scoring 25 points in the month. His 21 assists in November were the most since Wayne Gretzky recorded 21 while with the Los Angeles Kings in January 1996.

The former Hart, Art Ross and Conn Smythe Trophy winner is tied with Chicago Blackhawks forward Patrick Kane with 37 assists, second in the League behind teammate Sidney Crosby's 42.

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