Help is on the way (not that Penguins have needed any).
Center Evgeni Malkin, who has missed the last four games with a lingering upper-body injury, will be back in the lineup Tuesday night when the Penguins host the Buffalo Sabres at CONSOL Energy Center, per head coach Dan Bylsma.
Malkin has battled through various injuries this season – including a concussion – that have cost him 17 games. When healthy, Malkin is averaging over a point per game, totaling 29 (8G-21A) in 28 contests.
"For (Malkin) we have taken a lot of time with the injury, the bumps and bruises that he's had to try and return to health," Bylsma said. "He's looking at the last three games of the season to get ready for the playoffs."
The Penguins still have an All-Star lineup worth of players recovering from injuries and illness: Sidney Crosby (broken jaw), James Neal (concussion), Paul Martin (broken hand), Kris Letang (food poisoning) and Beau Bennett (upper-body) all missed the team's trip to Ottawa.
Letang will also play against the Sabres. Marc-Andre Fleury, who did not travel because his wife is expecting their first child, will start in goal for the Penguins.
Crosby, Martin and Neal skated at 9 a.m. Tuesday morning.
Bylsma said Martin, who returned to full team practice, could return to play in one of the final two regular-season games. Neal will likely return to team practice soon. No timeline on Crosby.
Malkin began the season with Magnitogorsk of the Kontinental Hockey League during the NHL work stoppage. He appeared in only 37 games for his hometown team, but still finished third in the KHL in scoring with 65 points (23G-42A).
Malkin is a two-time NHL scoring champion and former regular-season and playoff MVP. He’s scored 216 goals and 556 points in 455 career NHL games.