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Penguins notebook: Inconsistent play baffles Malkin

| Wednesday, May 8, 2013, 9:33 p.m.

At least Evgeni Malkin might have a higher power on his side when the Penguins play the Islanders in Game 5.

Malkin was the last man off the ice in Game 4. Following a skirmish in the game's final seconds, one of the Islanders ripped Malkin's good luck chain and crucifix off his neck.

Cameras caught a concerned Malkin looking for them on the ice for a couple of minutes after the game.

While departing Consol Energy Center on Wednesday following a team meeting, Malkin was asked if he found what he was looking for.

“Oh yeah,” he said with a relieved look.

He then opened his right hand to reveal the chain and crucifix, both of which he was carrying.

Malkin has endured something of a roller coaster during the series.

The former Conn Smythe winner has been a points machine, producing eight through four games. He was the finest player on the ice during the first 30 minutes of Game 4.

However, Malkin also took an unnecessary penalty in the second period and committed the turnover that led to New York star John Tavares' winning goal.

Coach Dan Bylsma subtly suggested that the third period wasn't Malkin's best.

“The game-winning goal is a turnover situation,” Bylsma said. “They created a chance. Clearly that's an execution mistake, a puck management mistake. In a lot of ways, in the third period, we weren't as aggressive as we needed to be. We backed off and gave them too many opportunities.”

A day off

The Penguins had planned to practice Wednesday at Consol Energy Center.

However, less than two hours before the scheduled practice, the team told local media the practice had been canceled.

Five players — Sidney Crosby, Paul Martin, Jarome Iginla, Pascal Dupuis and Chris Kunitz — were made available to the media, along with Bylsma.

Still working

A number of Penguins who haven't been playing in the postseason took part in drills Wednesday.

Among them were right wings Beau Bennett and Tyler Kennedy, both of whom could see playing time in this series should Bylsma look to add speed against the Islanders.

Game 6 start time to be decided Thursday

Saturday's Game 6 at Nassau Coliseum will take place at 4:30 or 7 p.m., according to the Islanders' website.

If the Senators-Canadiens series ends in Game 5 on Thursday, the Islanders and Penguins will play at 7 p.m Saturday. If not, the game will be at 4:30 p.m. The Senators lead the series against the Canadiens, 3-1.

Josh Yohe is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at jyohe@tribweb.com or via Twitter @JoshYohe_Trib.

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