TribLIVE

| Sports


 
Larger text Larger text Smaller text Smaller text | Order Photo Reprints

Penguins' Malkin expects to play in Game 1

Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review - The Penguins' Evgeni Malkin skates during practice on Tuesday, April 15, 2014, at Consol Energy Center.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Chaz Palla  |  Tribune-Review</em></div>The Penguins' Evgeni Malkin skates during practice on Tuesday, April 15, 2014, at Consol Energy Center.
Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review - The Penguins' Evgeni Malkin shoots on goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury during practice Tuesday, April 15, 2014 at Consol Energy Center.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review</em></div>The Penguins' Evgeni Malkin shoots on goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury during practice Tuesday, April 15, 2014 at Consol Energy Center.
Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review - The Penguins' Evgeni Malkin skates during practice Tuesday, April 15, 2014 at Consol Energy Center.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review</em></div>The Penguins' Evgeni Malkin skates during practice Tuesday, April 15, 2014 at Consol Energy Center.
Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review - The Penguins' Evgeni Malkin skates during practice Tuesday, April 15, 2014 at Consol Energy Center.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review</em></div>The Penguins' Evgeni Malkin skates during practice Tuesday, April 15, 2014 at Consol Energy Center.
Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review - The Penguins' Evgeni Malkin skates during practice Tuesday, April 15, 2014 at Consol Energy Center.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review</em></div>The Penguins' Evgeni Malkin skates during practice Tuesday, April 15, 2014 at Consol Energy Center.

Penguins/NHL Videos

Rob Rossi podcasts

  • Loading...
Tuesday, April 15, 2014, 3:57 p.m.
 

Evgeni Malkin expects to play for the Penguins on Wednesday night.

His regular winger, James Neal, expects something like this from Malkin:

“Put the puck in early,” Neal said. “Chip it. Don't even try to deke a defenseman.

“If you see No. 71 put the puck behind the defense early, that's going to open things up for him to use his speed later on — and then, just look out.”

The Penguins open the Stanley Cup playoffs with Game 1 of a best-of-seven series against Columbus at Consol Energy Center.

They will do it at full health after losing an NHL-high 532 man-games to injury during the regular season.

Malkin missed the final 11 games because of a hairline fracture to a bone in his right foot. He participated in a full practice Tuesday and centered a second line with Neal and Jussi Jokinen.

Malkin said he felt “no pain” immediately after the session. He needed to meet with Penguins physicians to gain clearance to play in Game 1.

Malkin appeared at ease on and off the ice. His skating stride was fluid, and he handled turns and stops without signs of discomfort. He even took a friendly jab at Columbus goalie Sergei Bobrovsky, a fellow Russian.

“He stays in the net,” Malkin said, smiling.

“All Russian goalies do.”

Malkin said he likes how the Penguins match up with Columbus. He cited the clubs' similar systems and structure, hinting that the Penguins' familiarity could lead to a sense of calmness he feels they lacked in two previous opening-round series against Philadelphia and the New York Islanders.

Malkin said the disappointment of Russia's failure to medal in men's hockey at Sochi Olympics is “gone” and that he feels “excited to try (to) win (the) Stanley Cup again.”

The Penguins are best built to do that if Malkin and fellow franchise center Sidney Crosby dominate the postseason as they did during the 2009 Cup run. Then, Malkin and Crosby became the only NHL players to record more than 30 points in a postseason since Colorado's Joe Sakic in 1996.

Crosby usually faces a club's best defensemen and defensive forwards, and Malkin said it is up to his line to force a change in opposition strategy.

“It's always good (defense) against Sid. He has to work hard for chances,” Malkin said. “We need to control with the puck (and) make (the) other team play (their) best defensive guys against our line.”

Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.

 

 

 
 


Show commenting policy

Most-Read Penguins

  1. Stat dropoff, road struggles have Penguins seeking consistency
  2. For Penguins coach Johnston, it’s a matter of substance over style
  3. Lapierre eager to make mark with Penguins
  4. Crosby banned from Jets game because he missed All-Star Game
  5. Capitals dominate overmatched Penguins in win at Verizon Center
  6. Penguins notebook: Johnston pleased with Downie’s all-around play
  7. Penguins notebook: Letang’s status vs. Jets uncertain
  8. Penguins get physical, trade Goc for Blues’ Lapierre
  9. Rossi: Crosby’s debt to NHL paid in full
  10. Starkey: What are Penguins, Pirates up to?
  11. Penguins recall 4 players