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Malkin sidelined for Penguins with upper-body injury

Center out for at least one game, will be re-evaluated

by Wes Crosby / Correspondent

CRANBERRY, Pa. -- Pittsburgh Penguins center Evgeni Malkin will not play against the Vancouver Canucks on Wednesday because of an upper-body injury (7 p.m. ET; SNP, ATTSN-PT, NHL.TV).

After practicing Monday, Malkin didn't skate Tuesday because of the injury sustained in a 2-1 loss to the Chicago Blackhawks on Saturday. Penguins coach Mike Sullivan said Malkin will be re-evaluated Thursday to determine his status for games against the Boston Bruins on Friday and Tampa Bay Lightning on Saturday.

Malkin is second on the Penguins with seven goals and 21 points. Linemate Phil Kessel leads them with eight goals and 24 points.

With Malkin absent, forward Jake Guentzel moved from second-line left wing to center. Bryan Rust was elevated from third-line right wing, where Josh Archibald skated Tuesday, to play left wing on the second line.

Sullivan said he wouldn't have a problem keeping Guentzel at center Wednesday.

"I don't mind it," Sullivan said. "He's a cerebral player. I think he has a good, solid two-way game. He's played center. He played a lot of center in college. So it's not something he's unfamiliar with. He's a good player. If we do choose to use him there, I think he can make that adjustment fine."

Despite that confidence, Sullivan would not confirm that Guentzel would center the second line against the Canucks.

"It all depends on who's available for us," Sullivan said. "We don't know if Carter Rowney is going to play or if he's not going to play. So we'll have to make some decisions."

Rowney has missed 13 games with a fractured hand sustained against the Lightning on Oct. 21. He wore a regular-contact jersey and centered the fourth line between left wing Greg McKegg and right wing Ryan Reaves on Tuesday.

If Rowney returns, forward Riley Sheahan could play second-line center behind Sidney Crosby. McKegg and Rowney would likely center the third and fourth lines. Guentzel would probably shift to center if Rowney isn't able to play.

"Obviously, full contact is the last step before [Rowney] gets clearance," Sullivan said. "We'll see how he responds to this today. I'll talk to the medical staff and then we'll make decisions accordingly. But certainly, it's encouraging the progress that he's made."

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