MORNING SKATE BUZZ
COYOTES (34-26-12, 80 pts) @ PENGUINS (46-20-5, 97 pts)
Evgeni Malkin was absent from the Penguins morning skate, prompting speculation that the Penguins could be without their star center tonight……And that will be the case.
Penguins head coach Dan Bylsma confirmed moments ago that Malkin will not only miss tonight’s game but is sidelined for 2-3 weeks due to a foot injury. Malkin did take a shot off his foot in Sunday’s game, though, it’s not exactly clear when the injury happened.
It’s a good bet that Malkin is done for the regular season and it remains to be seen whether he will be available for the start of the playoffs. The post-season begins in three weeks on April 16th.
Last year the Penguins went into the final weeks of the regular season with uncertainty whether Sidney Crosby would be ready for the playoffs due to a broken jaw and the same is likely with Malkin if the timetable is more in the three+ week range than two weeks.
“Anytime you lose a player like that, it’s a big blow,” forward Jussi Jokinen said after the morning skate.
Brandon Sutter will move into a second line center role starting tonight as the Penguins look for him to up his game in the offensive department. Bylsma said with the addition of Marcel Goc, there is no need to move Jussi Jokinen to center.
— In a rare scene, Brooks Orpik worked the point on the second power play unit this morning. Orpik called it an “emergency situation.”
— Kris Letang skated prior to the morning skate with Tomas Vokoun and also participated in the morning skate, working as an extra pair with with Deryk Engelland.
— Marc Andre Fleury will start in goal. The Penguins have lost four straight games that Fleury has started in and lost seven of the last 10 games Fleury has started.
— Thomas Greiss will start in goal for Phoenix. Greiss was scheduled to play tonight regardless of Mike Smith’s injury. “He was scheduled to play,” Tippett said Monday night. “That won’t change.”
Chris Kunitz – Sidney Crosby – Lee Stempniak
Jussi Jokinen – Brandon Sutter – James Neal
Taylor Pyatt – Marcel Goc – Brian Gibbons
Tanner Glass – Craig Adams – Jayson Megna
Brooks Orpik – Robert Bortuzzo
Olli Maatta – Matt Niskanen
Simon Despres – Rob Scuderi
Deryk Engelland – Kris Letang (extra’s)
(Updated: 12:03 p.m.)
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