Monday, March 4, 2013
By Luke Lapinski
As far as big names returning from injury go, they don't get much bigger than this. Evgeni Malkin went through a full practice in Pittsburgh on Sunday. And now it appears he'll be good to go when the Penguins host Tampa Bay tonight.
Malkin, of course, led the NHL with 109 points last season. And, despite missing the last four games due to a concussion, he's currently tied for sixth in the league with 17 assists already this year. Getting him back makes the Pens' already potent offense that much stronger, allowing them to put him on the ice with Sidney Crosby during power plays and whenever Dan Bylsma feels his club needs an extra push up front in crunch time. It also allows James Neal to skate alongside one of the best playmakers in the game, while Crosby, Chris Kunitz and Pascal Dupuis anchor the top line. And it gives Pittsburgh the luxury of sliding Brandon Sutter -- fresh off a two-goal game -- back down to the third line.