Evgeni Malkin has 19 points during his current nine-game scoring streak, a large part of why the Pittsburgh Penguins have gone 7-1-1 over that span.
Thursday night, as the Metropolitan Division-leading Penguins host the Pacific-pacing San Jose Sharks at Consol Energy Center, Malkin will be in the press box. The 27-year-old center left the Pens’ morning skate with a lower-body injury, and the team didn’t specify when he sustained it.
Malkin appeared healthy throughout Tuesday’s overtime defeat of the New York Islanders, assisting on two goals as the Penguins (19-9-1, 39 points) won their fourth straight game. His 37 points (7g, 30a) place him second in the league scoring race to teammate Sidney Crosby, who has 38. This will be the first game all year Malkin has missed.
Without Malkin, who has won back-to-back NHL player of the week awards and was the league’s No. 2 star for November, the Penguins will face an immense challenge at 7:05 p.m. The Sharks (19-3-5, 43 points) boast the best points percentage in the NHL and have won six in a row and nine of 10.
The two surging clubs haven’t met in more than two years, but will battle twice this season as part of the NHL’s new scheduling matrix. Sharks winger Tyler Kennedy scored both Penguins goals the previous time the Sharks skated in Pittsburgh, a 3-2 San Jose overtime win Feb. 23, 2011.
Read today’s Penguins Gameday Skate here.