After missing 10 games with a lower-body injury, Malkin is ‘ready to play’ against the Jets on Saturday

2 Comments

The Pittsburgh Penguins’ playoff push is getting a big boost on Saturday.

Evgeni Malkin is ready to return to the lineup after missing 10 games because of a lower-body injury.

“It’s been good,” Malkin said on Friday, per the Penguins’ website. “It was a hard skate for me today and I’m ready to play.”

He’s expected to center a line with wingers Carl Hagelin and Phil Kessel in Saturday afternoon’s game against the Winnipeg Jets.

The 29-year-old has 23 goals and 49 points in 49 games this season.

The Penguins went 5-4-1 without their star center.

Malkin won’t be the only player returning. Nick Bonino (hand) will also be back after missing 17 games.

“I thought they looked strong,” head coach Mike Sullivan said of Malkin and Bonino. “They’ve had a few practices now under their belt. They’ve had lots of contact. They’ve gotten involved in intensity drills. I thought they looked really strong out there.”

Here’s how the Penguins lined up during Friday’s practice:

Kunitz-Crosby-Hornqvist

Hagelin-Malkin-Kessel

Wilson-Bonino-Sheary

Porter/Plotnikov-Cullen-Rust

The Penguins are holding on to the final Wild Card spot in the Eastern Conference, but they do have some wiggle room, as they have four games in hand on the New Jersey Devils.

Pens