Penguins get Malkin back, Dumoulin plays vs. Capitals in Game 3

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With a big Game 3 looming, some huge game-time decisions went the Pittsburgh Penguins’ way as they host the Washington Capitals.

The biggest one is that Evgeni Malkin is set to make his series debut. The big superstar missed three straight playoff contests (Game 6 against the Flyers, the first two games of this Capitals series) thanks to what’s believed to be a lower-body injury. The Penguins are probably thankful that this series is tied 1-1 considering Malkin’s absence, even if they might gripe about controversial moments from Game 2.

Speaking of controversial moments from Game 2, Brian Dumoulin will be able to suit up for the Penguins in Game 3 despite the not-so-delicious sandwich hit he took from Alex Ovechkin and Tom Wilson. (You can see video of that double-check in the video above this post’s headline.)

[NBC’s Stanley Cup Playoff Hub]

Now, it’s not all good injury news for the Penguins, as Carl Hagelin will not be able to suit up, robbing the Pens of a speedy player.

With Malkin back in the mix, the series boasts a fantastic battle of one-two punches down the middle (Malkin and Sidney Crosby vs. Nicklas Backstrom and Evgeny Kuznetsov), and the Penguins’ lineup simply comes together in a more formidable way.

So far in the 2018 Stanley Cup Playoffs, Malkin generated five points in as many games. The Capitals aren’t likely to make it easy for him to shake off the rust, so we’ll see how quickly he gets back into the thick of things.

Game 3 airs on NBCSN. Click here to stream the game.

James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.