Penguins notes: Malkin needs to hold on to puck; HBK Line back together


It’s hard to criticize the guy who leads the NHL’s postseason scoring race with 17 points in 10 games.

Still, it’s fair to say that Evgeni Malkin didn’t have his best game Saturday in Washington. And if the Penguins are going to eliminate the Capitals tonight (or, if necessary, Wednesday), it would sure help if Malkin brought his best.  (Watch at 7:30 pm ET on NBCSN or the NBC Sports app)

“He can be a dangerous player when he hangs on to the puck and he forces our opponents to defend against him,” Penguins coach Mike Sullivan said this morning. “So we’re hopeful tonight that he’ll have the puck more, and he’ll hang on to the puck more. He’ll be more patient with it.”

At this morning’s skate, Malkin took rushes with Jake Guentzel and Bryan Rust. Meanwhile, Sidney Crosby was with Conor Sheary and Patric Hornqvist, and the HBK Line of Phil Kessel, Nick Bonino, and Carl Hagelin was back together.

“If we could find some of that scoring touch we had in the playoffs last year, we’d be happy,” Bonino said, per Pens Inside Scoop.

Pittsburgh’s fourth line had Chris Kunitz, Matt Cullen, and Tom Kuhnhackl.

On the back end, the Penguins will be without Trevor Daley (lower-body injury) tonight.

Related: Caps take page out of Penguins playbook with Ovechkin on third line