Malkin will not play tonight against New Jersey
Previously well stocked, the Penguins are running out of all-star centers.
Evgeni Malkin will join Sidney Crosby as absentees when the Penguins play the New Jersey Devils at 7 tonight at Prudential Center in Newark, N.J.
Malkin has been struggling with a shaky left knee, and he fell last Saturday during a game in Boston. His ice time was limited Tuesday during the Penguins' 4-1 victory against the Detroit Red Wings at Consol Energy Center.
Penguins coach Dan Bylsma on Wednesday refused to reveal the nature of the injury.
"He's not feeling well and is getting evaluated," Bylsma said.
Bylsma also said he doesn't know how long the Penguins will be without Malkin, the team's third-leading scorer with 15 goals, 22 assists and 37 points.
"We don't know if it's going to be a day or through the all-star break," he said.
After tonight, the Penguins have two more games — Saturday and Tuesday against the Carolina Hurricanes and New York Islanders, respectively, at Consol — before the NHL All-Star Game Jan. 30.
Malkin and Crosby are two of the Penguins voted to the game by fans. Defenseman Kris Letang and goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury, selected to their first All-Star Game, are the others.
Tonight will be the first time this season the Penguins will play without Malkin and Crosby, who will miss his seventh consecutive game because of a concussion.
The recent return of center Jordan Staal from hand and foot injuries raised the hope that the Penguins could consistently get Staal, Malkin and Crosby in the lineup together. But that happened only twice — Jan. 1 in the Winter Classic against the Washington Capitals and Jan. 5 against the Tampa Bay Lightning.
Crosby was hit in the head in both games, and he has not played since. The Penguins are 3-2-1 in that time, and Staal and left wing Chris Kunitz have scored goals in each of the past three games. Malkin hasn't scored a goal in six games since the Penguins defeated the Tampa Bay Lightning, 8-1, on Jan. 5.
"We've had games with just Sid, and we've had games with just Geno," Bylsma said. "And now we're going to go with just Jordan."
The Penguins have recalled forward Dustin Jeffrey from Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, and he will be available tonight.
Bylsma said playing without Malkin on the power play and at center won't be easy.
"Mark Letestu is going to have to play a bigger role," Bylsma said. "Chris Conner and lots of guys are going to have to play more minutes to fill the void."
Letestu, who has nine goals and 10 assists in his rookie season, signed a two-year contract extension earlier this week.
Bylsma said Letestu will get a chance to show that it was money well spent.
"Thank goodness we got him locked up for a few years," he said, "because he's going to break out (tonight) and be worth a lot more."
Note: Penguins highlights, player interviews, PensTV programming, and features and in-game videos that appear on the Consol Energy Center scoreboard will be available — free and On Demand — to Verizon's FiOS TV customers, the company announced yesterday.
Penguins at Devils
7 p.m. today, Prudential Center, Newark, N.J.
(FSN; WXDX-FM 105.9, Penguins Radio Network)
Season series: Penguins lead, 2-0. They won, 3-1, on Oct. 11 in New Jersey and, 2-1, on Dec. 6 at Consol Energy Center.
Streak: Won 3
Who to watch: Center Mark Letestu, who signed a two-year contract extension Tuesday, will be among those players called upon to pick up their games to compensate for the absence of Sidney Crosby (concussion) and Evgeni Malkin (undisclosed). Letestu has nine goals and 10 assists in his rookie season.
Trends: Among players slated to be in the lineup tonight, defenseman Kris Letang, who was voted to the All-Star Game for the first time, and left wing Chris Kunitz are the Penguins' top scorers. They have 40 and 32 points. ... Goalie Marc-Andre Fleury has played in five consecutive games, a stretch in which the Penguins are 3-2 and have allowed 13 goals. Opponents have five goals during the Penguins' three-game winning streak.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Some of the top prospects in Penguins system to be in town for camp
- New general manager Rutherford, Penguins in favor of short-term deals
- Penguins are saying captain Crosby’s right wrist may need surgery
- Based on glowing recommendation, Pens hire Agnew as assistant
- Pens hope to reach long-term deal with Brandon Sutter
- Penguins re-sign Megna, Samuelsson to 1-year deals
- Penguins sign controversial Downie to bring an edge to squad
- Former Predators winger Hornqvist embraces recent trade to Penguins