PITTSBURGH (AP) – Pittsburgh Penguins center Evgeni Malkin trained on Wednesday, saying he’s set to come back from a lower body injury that has kept him from coming out since mid- March.
Malkin wore a white ‘contactless’ jersey while skateboarding in Pittsburgh, but coach Mike Sullivan said the Russian star is a full participant and will travel with the Penguins when they begin a four-game road trip on Thursday at Washington.
Malkin hasn’t played since March 16, although Pittsburgh has done well without him. The Penguins are 14-5-2 during Malkin’s extended absence and are in a close four-man race with Washington, Boston and the New York Islanders for the East Division title. The teams are separated by six points with less than two weeks in the regular season.
Malkin has scored eight goals and 16 assists in 24 games this season and was playing well before injuring himself in a loss to Boston on March 16.
“I think (Malkin and I) had good chemistry when we both played,” Penguins forward Kasperi Kapanen said Wednesday. “Very excited for him to come back. Hope it will be soon.”
Sullivan generally likes injured players to participate in at least one, if not more, full contact practices before returning to play. Pittsburgh is scheduled to have practice Friday in Washington, DC, but won’t do so until May 7.
The team’s four-game road swing begins with games against the first-place Capitals Thursday and Saturday and ends with a back-to-back game in Philadelphia next Monday and Tuesday before concluding the regular season by hosting Buffalo on May 6 and May 8.
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