Sunday’s game against the St. Louis Blues was unlucky for the Pittsburgh Penguins in more ways than one. Not only were the Pens shut out in a 1-0 victory by the Blues, but star forward Evgeni Malkin injured his foot on his first shift of the game, per Penguins head coach Dan Bylsma.
Malkin, who was riding a hot streak that cumulated in a two goal, four point game against Tampa Bay, will be out 2-3 weeks, though no further surgery is thought to be required. This timetable will mean Malkin is unlikely to return before the playoffs. This is the second injury of the season for Malkin, who missed 11 games after injuring his leg in mid-December. This also adds to the Penguins’ league-leading over 440 man-games lost to injury and counting.
Though Bylsma may rotate lines with the addition of called-up forward Jayson Megna, his current plan seems to be to move Brandon Sutter up to the second line with Jussi Jokinen and James Neal, hoping that the pair of them will up Sutter’s offensive production. Rookie defenseman Olli Maatta will take Malkin’s place on the powerplay. If the Penguins clinch a playoff spot – and they are extremely likely to – their hopes may ride on a strong effort by Sutter in the home stretch, and a quick return to top form by Malkin.