If you are a Pittsburgh Penguins fan, you will frown. If you are a Philadelphia Flyers fan, you will smile. Evgeni Malkin and Patric Hornqvist will be game-time decisions for the Penguins against the Flyers in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference First Round at Wells Fargo Center later today, as the contest is schedule for 3pmET.
When asked about the availability of the two forwards, Penguins coach Mike Sullivan said, "All players are game-time decisions." When asked about Malkin a second time, Sullivan did not change his speech and reiterated that all players would be game-time decisions.
Star forward Evgeni Malkin was not on the ice for the morning skate on Saturday. The Russian forward was the only member of the Penguins that was absent for practice ahead of the sixth game of the series.
Pens fans were concerned for most of the game last night when Malkin returned to the game for the start of the second period after he'd spent the final three minutes and 34 seconds of the first period following a collision with Flyers forward Jori Lehtera. Malkin laid on the ice for several moments after he'd lost his balance got tangled up with Lehtera and Lehtera fell awkwardly onto Malkin's left leg in the right-wing corner of the Penguins' defensive zone.
Despite the time missed due to the pain on his leg, Mallkin ended up with 20 minutes, 22 seconds of ice time, his second-most of the series so far. He took 14 shifts after the collision, but it might costing him right now...
The Penguins did not hold line rushes during today's practice, which lasted about 25 minutes. If Malkin is sidelined for the game, third-line center Derick Brassard would likely take his place between left wing Carl Hagelin and right wing Phil Kessel on the second line.
Hornqvist took full contact in practice Saturday after missing Games 4 and 5 with an upper-body injury. He joined the Penguins' optional morning skate Friday, but wore a no-contact jersey, after skating on his own the previous day, which are good signs for today's game.
If Hornqvist returns, he could get inspiration from Flyers' Sean Couturier, who missed Game 4 with a lower-body injury, only to return for Game 5 and play the hero by scoring the game-winning goal.