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Malkin week to week for Penguins with lower-body injury

Center is Pittsburgh's third-leading scorer; McCann takes spot on second line

NHL.com @NHLdotcom

Evgeni Malkin is week to week for the Pittsburgh Penguins because of a lower-body injury.

The center was hit by Boston Bruins defenseman Jarred Tinordi at 6:42 of the first period during a 2-1 loss Tuesday. Malkin returned to the bench at 12:29 of the period but went to the locker room again after taking part in a power play that began at 13:13. 

Malkin, who played 3:43 on Tuesday, entered the game with 12 points (four goals, eight assists) in an eight-game point streak. He was placed on injured reserve retroactive to Wednesday and missed the Penguins' 3-1 victory against the New Jersey Devils on Saturday. He will also be unavailable for their next game, at home against the Devils on Sunday (1 p.m. ET; NHLN, SN1, TVAS, ATTSN-PT, MSG+, NHL.TV). 

"Obviously, when you lose 'Geno,' it's a tough loss from our standpoint for everything that he brings to our team," Pittsburgh coach Mike Sullivan said Friday. "But we're certainly encouraged that we'll get him back hopefully in a timely fashion.

"He's developed a lot of chemistry with [Kasperi Kapanen] and those guys have been really good for us. We're hopeful we'll get him back here in a timely fashion and he continue to build on the progress that they made."

Malkin is third in scoring for Pittsburgh with 24 points (eight goals, 16 assists) in 29 games. The Penguins (19-11-1) are third in the MassMutual East Division, three points ahead of the fourth-place Boston Bruins. The top four teams qualify for the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

"I think it's just, it's some adversity we're facing when you lose a guy like Geno," Pittsburgh defenseman Kris Letang said. "But there's an opportunity for guys to step up in bigger roles, and show what they can do in those moments. At the end of the day, we have to play the same way. We can't start changing anything. When we lose a guy, we have to play the same team game."

Kapanen, in his first season with Pittsburgh, has scored 21 points (seven goals, 14 assists) in 27 games. He has at least one point in six of his past eight games.

Jared McCann, skated as second-line center at practice Friday and took Malkin's spot in the lineup Saturday after missing six games because of an upper-body injury.

Though McCann returned, the Penguins played the game Saturday without forward Brandon Tanev, who was a late scratch after heading to the locker room during warmups. He was replaced by center Frederick Gaudreau. Evan Rodrigues took Tanev's spot on the second forward line with McCann and Kapanen.

Sullivan said Tanev has an upper-body injury and will be evaluated further when the Penguins return to Pittsburgh. 

NHL.com independent correspondent Wes Crosby contributed to this report

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