Evgeni Malkin hasn't been a part of the Pittsburgh Penguins' current winless streak against the Buffalo Sabres, but he'll have a chance to help end it.
After a court ruling allowed Malkin to remain in the NHL, the Penguins look to beat the Sabres for the first time in nearly three years when the teams meet Friday at HSBC Arena.
Malkin was cleared to stay with Pittsburgh (8-6-2) Wednesday after a federal judge denied a demand by his former Russian club that he be yanked from the NHL.
Metallurg Magnitogorsk, a Russian Super League team, claimed that Malkin was under contract in his native country. The club sought a preliminary injunction that would have banned the forward from playing for the Penguins until the matter is resolved.
"We always have been confident in our position in Evgeni's case," said Tom McMillan, the Penguins' vice president of communications. "We are very happy for Evgeni, his family and Penguins fans."
Malkin, 20, had just signed a one-year contract with Metallurg Magnitogorsk when he abruptly left camp to join the Penguins this fall.
Malkin, selected No. 2 overall in the 2004 draft, has nine goals this season to lead all rookies. He had the winning goal with 2:03 to play as Pittsburgh snapped a five-game skid with a 3-2 victory over Philadelphia on Monday night.
The Penguins will now try to beat the Sabres for the first time since a 2-1 victory on Dec. 16, 2003. Pittsburgh has five losses - two in overtime - and a tie since that win.
Malkin, Sidney Crosby and Jordan Staal - who all scored against the Flyers - are expected to be a big part of any chance the Penguins will have to win Friday.
Staal, 18, is tied for second among rookies with six goals while the 19-year-old Crosby became the youngest player ever to earn 100 points in a season in 2005-06.
"There's a lot of young talent in this dressing room, and hopefully we can keep that going, keep that chemistry going and keep getting those wins," said Staal, the No. 2 overall pick in this past summer's draft.
The Sabres had a four-game winning streak end Wednesday night with a 4-2 home defeat to Ottawa. Daniel Briere and Thomas Vanek scored for Buffalo, which lost for only the second time in regulation.
Vanek's goal was his team-leading 12th, and he has five goals and two assists in a five-game point streak. The 22-year-old left wing, however, has been held without a point in four career appearances against the Penguins.
Buffalo (15-2-1) went 0-for-6 on the power play against the Senators after scoring six times in 22 opportunities with the man advantage during the win streak.
"We've got to be sharper," Sabres right wing Jason Pominville said. "It's all about puck movement and right now we're having trouble getting set up."
Buffalo goaltender Ryan Miller, who has missed four games because of an abdominal strain, skated lightly Wednesday morning and his status for Friday's game is uncertain.