Penguins notebook: Bennett practices; return to lineup will be soon
• Right wing Beau Bennett is close to returning to the Penguins' lineup. Bennett, who has been skating with strength and conditioning coach Mike Kadar for about a week, returned to practice Monday at Southpointe. Although it sounds unlikely Bennett will play against the Rangers at Madison Square Garden, he sounds likely to play soon. “I feel a lot better,” said Bennett, who left an Oct. 12 victory in Tampa Bay with a lower-body injury. “I'm a lot stronger than I was a few weeks ago. I've been ramping up the skating with coach Kadar the last few days.” Coach Dan Bylsma said he is pleased with Bennett's progress but doesn't sound ready to let the former first-round pick play Wednesday. “He has to work his way back with more practice time than just tomorrow for a return to play,” Bylsma said.
• Center Evgeni Malkin has not scored a goal in eight consecutive games. The only longer stretches without a goal in Malkin's career were in the 2008-09 season (10 games) and the 2009-10 season (11 games).
• Left wing Chris Kunitz did not participate in Monday's practice, though nothing suggests he will miss any playing time. Kunitz was given a “maintenance day,” Bylsma said. He said that Kunitz had “bumps and bruises.”
• Goalie Marc-Andre Fleury was named the NHL's No. 2 Star of the Week. Fleury went 3-0 last week with a 1.67 goals-against average and a .940 save percentage. Minnesota's Jason Pominville recorded 10 points in three games to earn first star honors. Fleury leads the NHL with 10 wins.
• Right wing James Neal skated by himself Monday morning, the first time he has skated since aggravating an upper-body injury against the Devils on Oct. 3.
— Josh Yohe
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