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Malkin skates with Pens: ‘I feel good’

Mar 19, 2013, 1:47 PM EDT

Evgeni Malkin AP

Evgeni Malkin joined his teammates for a skate this morning, a development that suggests the Penguins’ star forward is getting closer to returning from an upper-body injury.

“I feel good,” he said, per NHL.com. “Practice with team first time, feel very good. Just the next step to my recovery.”

But Malkin, who last played March 9, will not be in the lineup tonight against Washington when Pittsburgh attempts to win its 10th straight game.

Nor will defenseman Kris Letang, who’s day-to-day with a lower-body injury that he sustained Sunday.

“We’re going to have to keep it pretty simple,” Pittsburgh captain Sidney Crosby said. “I don’t think you want to change too much, but obviously missing those two guys we want to simplify things, not force anything and play to the strengths of all the guys who are out there.”

The Penguins have been markedly better defensively the past five games without Malkin, surrendering just five combined goals.

Related: Laich back for Caps

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