Malkin (lower-body) is ‘ahead of schedule,’ says Penguins coach

Evgeni Malkin has missed the last four games due to a lower-body injury, and it appears he’ll miss Sunday’s meeting with the Nashville Predators, as well.

But there is good news.

According to the Pittsburgh Penguins’ website, the 28-year-old Malkin took part in a team practice on Saturday, which would suggest that a return to the lineup is near. After Sunday’s game, the Penguins don’t play again until Wednesday, when they begin a three-game road trip that takes them to Edmonton, Calgary and finally Vancouver.

“I thought he looked really good out there today,” said Penguins coach Mike Johnston. “So he’s getting really close, he’s ahead of schedule so we’re excited about that for sure.

“The first thing was to get him into a regular practice. You saw at the end of practice today, he took some physical play so he got bumped around a little bit, took that. Get a skate in tomorrow. He won’t play tomorrow.”

Malkin, who has 19 goals and 51 points in 45 games this season, was placed on injured reserve earlier in the week, after he missed the All-Star festivities in Columbus last weekend.

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