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Penguins notes: Evgeni Malkin returns Friday; Mark Letestu out 4-6 weeks with knee surgery

Evgeni Malkin

Pittsburgh Penguins’ Evgeni Malkin, of Russia, walks through the locker room at the Consol Energy Center in Pittsburgh after arriving, Friday, Sept. 17, 2010, to prepare for the NHL hockey team’s first practice of the new season. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)


A little bit of good news and bad news for the Penguins this afternoon. Today they find out that Evgeni Malkin will make his return to the Penguins lineup for Friday’s game against Buffalo. Malkin missed the last few games with a sinus infection and trouble in his knee. For the Penguins, getting Malkin back helps give a boost to their offense that was severely lacking without both himself and Sidney Crosby out. The past few times Malkin has sat out with injuries, his return has resulted with instant offensive results as getting the rest and getting healthy gives a boost to his game.

The roster juggle to get Malkin back in was made easier today with the bad news about Mark Letestu’s injury. Letestu will be undergoing meniscus surgery on his knee and will be out 4-6 weeks. Letestu has been an important depth contributor to the Penguins lineup this season but his absence may be softened thanks to the play of Dustin Jeffrey. Jeffrey was called up from the AHL to fill Letestu’s place and he’s played well since returning including a big game against the Rangers on Tuesday in which he scored a goal and got the shootout winner as well.

Getting that production from Jeffrey and getting Malkin back should help give the Penguins an offensive lift. They can use the help as they’re not quite the dynamic offensive show they are without Crosby.