Pittsburgh Penguins head coach Dan Bylsma has ruled Evgeni Malkin out of tonight's tilt against the San Jose Sharks. Malkin, who is second in the NHL with 37 points (seven goals, thirty assists) left the morning skate after about ten minutes. The injury is believed to be of the lower-body variety. Coach Bylsma added that Geno will be listed as day-to-day.
The injury is another in a downpour of Pens aliments. Geno joins Rob Scuderi, Paul Martin, and Tanner Glass on the pine. Timing is also not on the Penguins side as Malkin's absence will make a tough matchup even tougher. The Sharks are second in the outstandingly competitive Western Conference with 43 points (19-3-5) and sport a bevy of great hockey players. The Sharks arsenal includes veteran Joe Thornton (5 goals, 25 assists), NHL-best-kept-secret Logan Couture (10G, 18A), rookie sensation Tomas Hertl (13G, 8A), and USA Hockey Olympic hopeful Joe Pavelski (9G, 17A). Not to mention Patrick Marleau, Dan Boyle, Brent Burns, Antti Niemi, and former Pens fan-favorite Tyler Kennedy (3 goals and 8 assists). They also have only one regular skater who has a plus/minus rating under zero. The season is young, but this is certainly a possible Stanley Cup matchup.
In short, Malkin being out of the lineup really, really, really hurts the Pens chances. Maybe add another really.
Look for Brandon Sutter to be bumped up to second line center, where he'll be ordered to feed James Neal more than the fat guy in Monty Python's Meaning of Life. The Pens schedule is busy until Monday when there will be a three day break between games. Hopefully Malkin's injury will not keep him out for long. After the hot streak he's be riding . . . the NHL is smiling pretty big right now.
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