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Evgeni Malkin will miss second game in a row tonight

Washington Capitals v Pittsburgh Penguins

PITTSBURGH, PA - JANUARY 01: Evgeni Malkin #71 of the Pittsburgh Penguins looks on during the third period of the game against the Washington Capitals at the 2011 NHL Bridgestone Winter Classic at Heinz Field on January 1, 2011 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Washington won 3-1. (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)

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Forgive the Pittsburgh Penguins for feeling good about their overall outlook today, with news that Sidney Crosby could be cleared for contact. It’s not all rainbows and gummy bears in Pittsburgh, though, as the team announced that Evgeni Malkin won’t play against the Florida Panthers tonight.

Malkin is experiencing soreness in the undisclosed area of his “lower body injury,” according to Penguins head coach Dan Bylsma. Bylsma was quick to note that it isn’t a major injury on Sunday, which must have been a relief for Penguins fans since some might have assumed that Malkin might be struggling with the same knee that forced him to undergo season-ending surgery in 2010-11.

Speaking of injured Penguins, hard-hitting defenseman Brooks Orpik is reportedly “improving” but won’t appear on the ice just yet. The blueliner underwent abdominal surgery in July.

While Orpik and Crosby’s situations seem more week-to-week, Malkin might be day-to-day (at least if Bylsma is shooting straight with his updates). We’ll keep an eye on Malkin’s status, then, as the Penguins’ next contest comes against the Washington Capitals in Pittsburgh on Thursday.