Neither Kris Letang nor Evgeni Malkin have played a game for the Penguins in three weeks, two rather important players on their roster. Both came back Sunday when the Penguins hosted the Winnipeg Jets.
Letang, who last played on Dec. 13 thanks to an elbow injury, will return for Sunday's matinee in Pittsburgh, coach Dan Bylsma announced that one with certainty. Less certain was the return of Malkin, who hadn't played since Dec. 14 with a leg injury. After being listed as a game-time decision, Malkin was given the go for the game as well.
Letang, a Norris Trophy finalist a season ago, wasn't off to the fastest offensive start this season. He put up only six goals and five assists in the first 24 games but regardless, he plays a lot of minutes and is a massive piece of the blue line corps and power play.
Malkin had a slow start as well to his season but that all changed before his injury when he was one of the hottest players in the NHL. Malkin has nine goals and 32 assists in just 32 games this season. He's a former Hart Trophy winner, and there's no disputing what he means.
That said, it sure hasn't looked like the Penguins have missed either player all that much (or their other injured players). The have only expanded their lead in the Metropolitan Division and have won eight of their last 10. Kind of scary to think of what they will look like in the Metro when they're all healthy. Sunday is a big step in that direction.