Already dealing with injuries to key defensemen Kris Letang and Christian Ehrhoff, the slumping Pittsburgh Penguins didn’t have Evgeni Malkin in their lineup against the Philadelphia Flyers on Wednesday.
Malkin, with 70 points in 65 games, was a late scratch to the lineup. It was revealed after the game, which Pittsburgh lost 4-1, that the star forward is day-to-day with what head coach Mike Johnston called a “slight injury.”
“When they were working with him the other day, they found a slight injury. We’re taking it day by day from here,” said Johnston, as per the Penguins’ Twitter account.
“We are just being cautious right now at this time of the year. I don’t expect it to linger,” he added.
The Penguins have won only three times in their last 10 games, and sit third in the Metropolitan Division with 95 points after Wednesday’s result versus the Flyers.
The Philadelphia Flyers aren’t going to the playoffs. The Pittsburgh Penguins are on their way to the post-season, although they have yet to clinch a berth.
On Wednesday, it was the Flyers playing the role of spoiler against their heated Pennsylvania rivals, dropping the Penguins to third in the Metropolitan Division with a 4-1 victory over Pittsburgh.
Minus Evgeni Malkin, a late scratch from the lineup, and with only 17 skaters, the Penguins got off to a good enough start, with Sidney Crosby scoring his 300th career goal early in the first period.
It went downhill from there.
Vincent Lecavalier scored for the first time in 27 games to tie the game late in the first period. Brayden Schenn scored twice, including the winner in the second period and a power play goal 49 seconds into the third period. The Penguins had surrendered the lead and the Flyers had taken control.
With five games remaining in their schedule, there has to be concern for a slumping Pittsburgh team that is also dealing with injuries on the blue line to Kris Letang (concussion) and Christian Ehrhoff (upper-body), and has won only three times in the last 10 games following Wednesday’s result.
The Pittsburgh Penguins will be decidedly undermanned when they take on the Flyers on Rivalry Night, as Evgeni Malkin was a late scratch from the contest due to an undisclosed injury.
Pittsburgh, who came into tonight’s contest without the services of Kris Letang and Christian Ehrhoff (along with Pascal Dupuis and Olli Maatta, who were previously ruled out for the year), were down to just five defensemen and 13 forwards prior to the Malkin injury, and will now roll with 12 skaters up front.
More, from ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun: