Penguins forward Evgeni Malkin
was back on the ice for practice on Friday afternoon at Southpointe. Malkin missed the previous two games after suffering an undisclosed injury when he was hit with a shot in the Penguins' 2-1 victory at Tampa Bay on March 14.
Malkin tested the injury in New Jersey (Wednesday) and Boston (Thursday) but did not skate or practice. Friday was his first time back to practice with his teammates. He is currently listed as day-to-day and his status for the Penguins' Saturday game against Carolina is unknown.
For more details read Jason Seidling's report
Sounds heard around the locker room:
On the team’s win against Boston:
I think that there were a lot of things about last night’s game where I liked the response of our team. Matt Cooke
responded, and our team was ready to play the right way on top of that and in a difficult situation with a lot of distractions and some anxiety about that type of game coming off the game we played against New Jersey. It was a response game from our team, and you saw us respond both to the situation and to the way that we were playing. We played a much better game.
On Fleury’s ability to bounce back:
In a disappointing situation, he focuses and gets right back to playing well again the next night. In a lot of respects, I’m glad to see him respond the way that he did. I’m glad to see him get the shutout in that game. It’s something that we know that we haven’t been able to give him in our team play, so our team has been playing a lot better defensively as of late in terms of giving up scoring chances. Flower got the response, and he also got the shutout. It was good to see.
On playing Carolina at home tomorrow:
I think that at this time of year, our focus has been on playing a certain way and maintaining that whether we’re playing a big game, a rivalry game, or whether we’re playing games where there may be a letdown. Our focus has been good for the most part. Our record has been great in the last 11 or 12 games, and this is another one of those challenges – coming back off the road and playing Carolina. Matt Cooke
On if he is glad that the Boston game is behind him now:
It was a distraction that our team didn’t need. I’m glad that we won the game.On the team overcoming the distraction:
I think that our philosophy is team toughness. We stuck together. We all stood in there. We played the type of game that we needed. After our effort in New Jersey where we made a lot of big mistakes – we played well but we made the big errors – last night, we eliminated that from our game.
On getting goal production from the team’s wingers:
I think that stuff kind of comes in spurts. You want to get distributed scoring throughout your entire lineup, and it seems like at some times, it’s the D getting all of the goals. At some times, it’s Sid getting all of the goals. Sometimes, it’s the rest of us. We all want to chip in. We all want to help out. When it’s throughout the lineup, I think it makes the game more fun for everybody and easier on everybody.
On if he decided to get the fight over with in last night’s game:
It’s just the way that it played out. He asked me to fight, and I obliged him and got it out of the way.
On how he sees the team moving forward into the playoffs:
I think that you always want to get better. You always want to improve. There are always things that you know you can do better. I think that we’ve played – with the exception of maybe two minutes in New Jersey – we’ve played games that we wanted to play and styles that we wanted to play since the break pretty much. That’s a good thing moving forward.Sidney CrosbyOn playing Boston after the defeat in New Jersey:
It’s a good way to respond. We try to do that all year after a tough game. I think that it’s important. It’s a good trait to have as a team, and I thought that we did a good job of bouncing back there.
On Matt Cooke fighting early in the game:
We weren’t sure what was going to happen, but Cookie responded well. Even after that, I thought we just worried about playing hockey. We weren’t caught up in what was going to happen. We were ready for whatever was going to happen, but we were focused on playing hockey. Cookie getting that out of the way early helped everyone, and we got to our game and played a good one.
On getting goals from players who have been looking to contribute throughout the season:
It’s really important, especially at this time of the year and moving forward. We’re going to need everybody, and it’s going to be a different guy who scores that big one with each win. You learn from experience that that’s the way it’s going to be from here on out with tight games like that. It’s going to be a different guy every night.On Marc-Andre Fleury getting the shutout against Boston:
He’s played a lot of really good games. He probably hasn’t had the luck to get a shutout, but last night, he was solid. It was nice for him to get that. It’s always a nice reward for a goalie. I thought that even as the guys were really going hard late in the game. When you’re up by three goals, you don’t necessarily have to block shots or make those little plays, but guys were really going a little bit harder to get him that. It’s fun to have that.
On how he has seen the team progress throughout the past couple of games:
I think we’re doing a better job being consistent. That’s always the battle for any team, but for us, that’s going to be the biggest test. We know what our game looks like. Everyone knows what they have to do. It’s just a matter of being consistent.
On how important it is to win against Carolina tomorrow:
We’ve been on the road for a long time, so we have a game at home, and we want to take advantage of it and play well. Then, we’re back on the road again. We have to make the most of those opportunities.
On Evgeni Malkin skating with the team at practice today:
Hopefully, everything is good to go. He looked good out there. It’d be great to see him back. We just want to keep getting better here, and he’s a big part of our team.Alexei Ponikarovsky
On playing on the power play:
I think the coaches put me there for a reason, so that’s why I have to do a good job in front of the net. That’s part of the job that I have to do.
On playing against Carolina tomorrow:
Carolina is playing pretty well right now. They are a pretty hot team, and I know they’re trying to make a run for a playoff spot. They’re playing really well. Big assist to Caitlin Kasunich
The Penguins held a noon practice Friday at Southpointe. With the return of Malkin to practice the forward combinations looked like this: