CALGARY, Alberta - Evgeni Malkin and Bryan Rust both took the ice for an optional morning skate on Tuesday at Scotiabank Saddledome. Both players are overcoming an illness and will be game-time decisions for tonight's contest against the Calgary Flames.
"They both wanted to skate. They both wanted to see how they feel," head coach Mike Sullivan said. "We'll make decisions accordingly. But it was encouraging."
Rust missed Monday's practice due to an illness, but felt well enough to take the ice on Tuesday morning.
"So far, so good," Rust said. "We'll see how I feel going through this afternoon and into tonight."
Rust is the latest member of the Penguins organization to be hit with the illness.
"I felt it a little bit a couple days ago," Rust said. "On our travel day (Sunday) it got a little bit worse, then overnight it got even worse. (Monday) was probably the peak. Then it seems to be on the downside a little bit."
Malkin missed the past two games for Pittsburgh with the illness. Defenseman Jack Johnson also missed a game in early December due to sickness.
"It seems to be going around our room right now," Rust said. "Guys are missing games for what seems to be all the same illness. Hopefully I'm on the side of clearing up."
Malkin (27 points) and Rust (22) are the Penguins' Nos. 2 and 3-t leading scorers. So getting them back in the lineup would be a huge boost to the team.
"They're two guys that have brought so much lately for our team," said blueliner Kris Letang, who is tied with Rust at 22 points. "To have both of them in our lineup would be huge for us."
Goaltender Tristan Jarry will get the start in goal, his 10th appearance in the past 12 games.
*The Penguins will be facing a soaring Calgary team that has gone 8-1-1 in its past 10 games, which includes a seven-game winning streak. The Penguins met the Flames during this current run and handed them a 3-2 overtime loss.
"(Calgary) is a real good team," Sullivan said. "They're deep. They have balance. They have goaltending. They have good size. They lean on you. They play with structure. It's one of those games that you have to fight for every inch of ice out there."
*Forward Jake Guentzel scored the overtime-winning goal against Calgary on Nov. 25. He has goals in three-straight games against the Flames.
*Malkin has 10 points (4G-6A) in his past six games against Calgary, and three multi-point games in his past four. Malkin is sitting on career goal No. 399. His next tally will be a major personal milestone.