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Evgeni Malkin returns to Penguins lineup tonight

Dec 14, 2010, 4:13 PM EDT

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Evgeni Malkin

The Penguins are winners of 12 straight games and are on so much fire they should have a sign dictating how flammable they are. They’re scoring tons of goals thanks to Sidney Crosby’s current 18 game point streak and Marc-Andre Fleury has been lights out in goal. So what does a team that’s got it all working for it need? Of course they need to get their next best player back and healthy in the lineup.

Evgeni Malkin will make his return to the Penguins lineup tonight against the Flyers and give the Pens offense just that much more volatility. Dave Molinari of the Pittsburgh Gazette gets the scoop in a funny way directly from Malkin after the team’s skate this morning.

He confirmed after the skate that he intends to play, and did so at first in a rather novel way: By declining to answer a reporter’s questions.

Malkin, you see, has a habit of not doing interviews on gamedays, at least ones when he plans to play.

“That’s why I’m not talking,” he finally said. “Because I’m going to play.”

Before Malkin took time off to get healthy, it appeared that his game was suffering, what he’s able to do tonight against the Flyers and from here on out may dictate if that indeed was the case or if there’s something else amiss with the Russian superstar.

For now though, the Penguins look to be even more formidable having Malkin back in the lineup and even scarier still if he ends up on Crosby’s left wing. Chances of that are slim though as long as Chris Kunitz is able to start.

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