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Loading up: Evgeni Malkin (lower body) returns for Pittsburgh

Pittsburgh Penguins v New York Islanders

skates against the New York Islanders at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum on December 3, 2013 in Uniondale, New York. The Penguins defeated the Islanders 3-2 in overtime.

Bruce Bennett

You can add Evgeni Malkin’s name to the list of Pittsburgh Penguins returning to action this afternoon against Winnipeg.

Malkin took warm-ups before this afternoon’s game and will play against the Jets. He’s been out since December 14 with a lower-body injury. Malkin will be on a line with Jussi Jokinen and James Neal.

Malkin missed nine games after he was injured in a crash into the boards against the Detroit Red Wings, a game after Kris Letang was put out of action with an elbow issue. With Letang rejoining the lineup today as well, the Penguins are getting back to full health rapidly.

The Penguins were already at the top of the Metropolitan Division as it was, but now that they’re getting key players, the rest of the Eastern Conference will have their hands full with a more robust Penguins lineup.

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