Evgeni Malkin will be a game-time decision when his Pittsburgh Penguins host the Washington Capitals on Thursday night, reports Shelly Anderson of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. The Penguins center missed the club's last two games due to soreness in his right knee, which Anderson says stems from an operation he had in February.
Earlier reports indicated Malkin would not play, so the upgrade in his status comes as a welcome surprise for Pittsburgh (3-0-1), which leads the NHL in points (seven) despite the partial absence of Malkin and the full absence of Sidney Crosby. More good news could come a bit later, as Crosby may make his return to game action soon; doctors have cleared him for practice.
Notably, Anderson reports Malkin will join Capitals star and fellow Russian national Alex Ovechkin in a pregame ceremony honoring the Russian hockey team Lokomotiv, whose lives a plane crash claimed in September, regardless of whether he'll be able to play. In addition, both teams will wear Lokomotiv patches on their helmets.
With or without Malkin, the puck drops at 7:00 PM Eastern.