Malkin tallied two assists in Russia's 5-2 victory over Norway on Friday. It was a solid start to the tournament for Malkin, who picked up both of his points on goals scored by Evgenii Dadonov. Fans and fantasy owners alike will be hoping a strong showing at Worlds for the 32-year-old Malkin will inspire him to a better 2019-20 campaign with the Penguins.
Malkin will be an assistant captain for Russia at the 2019 IIHF World Championship. After putting up 98 points in 2017-18, Malkin managed "just" 72 this season, though he was limited to 68 games. Still, the Russian center has faced much of the blame for the team underperforming in the postseason due to a handful of bad turnovers and unnecessary penalties. It's hard to imagine the 32-year-old won't be back next season, but with team brass looking to shake things up, a deal to trade Malkin over the summer isn't outside the realm of possibility.
Malkin scored a power-play goal and added an assist at even strength during Wednesday's 4-3 overtime loss to the Islanders in Game 1. The 32-year-old looked healthy and sharp to begin the Pens' postseason run after missing eight games late in the year with an upper-body injury, although Malkin's performance wasn't enough to produce a win. He now has a massive 63 goals and 167 points in 159 career playoff games, and Wednesday's effort moved Malkin into the top 20 in all-time postseason scoring -- two spots behind Pittsburgh legend Mario Lemieux (172 points), who he could pass before this series is over.
Malkin (upper body) will play in Thursday's matchup with Detroit. Malkin was a game-time call heading into the contest, but it now appears that he will slot into the second line with Bryan Rust and Phil Kessel as his wingers. Kris Letang (upper body) will also slot back into the lineup after being a game-time decision, a great sign for a Pittsburgh team trying to wrap up a playoff spot. With Malkin back in the lineup, it seems Matt Cullen will lose his spot among the forward lines.
Head coach Mike Sullivan labeled Malkin (upper body) a game-time decision for Thursday's contest versus the Red Wings, Wes Crosby of NHL.com reports. Malkin sported a regular jersey and took part in line rushes during practice Wednesday, clear signs that he is nearing a return to the lineup. Sullivan's words backed that theory up, though we will need to wait for confirmation on game day. Either way, the Pens could be nearing full strength at the right time, with Kris Letang (upper body) also making an appearance in a non-contact uniform Wednesday. Should Malkin make his return against Detroit, Matt Cullen appears the primary candidate to lose his place among the forward lines.
Last 7 Games
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