Evgeni Malkin was injured Friday night on this play:
He is reportedly experiencing concussion symptoms, including disorientation and headaches.
This was an unfortunate incident and Malkin will sit today’s game against the Lightning, as he receives further evaluation as to the extent of his injury. With concussions, it is impossible to know if Malkin will miss one week or one year of hockey.
According to the Pens, Brandon Sutter will move up to the second line, centering James Neal and Beau Bennett and Dustin Jeffrey will center Matt Cooke and Tyler Kennedy.
The unfortunate injury to Malkin is a fantastic opportunity for Sutter and Jeffrey. Sutter will now center for one of the most dangerous snipers in the NHL, while continuing to work with the rookie Bennett. He had immediate chemistry with Bennett in his NHL debut against Winnipeg. This is Sutter’s chance to break away from the lingering questions about the absence of Jordan Staal.
Sutter has 7 points in 18 games. The move to Neal’s line provides ample opportunity for Sutter to increase his scoring production, especially if he is utilized on the front power play unit where Neal is tallying the majority of his points this season.
Additionally, Dustin Jeffrey, whom has been spotty in appearances and in his game consistency, can now prove his worth in the Pen’s starting lineup. Zach Boychuk will also be looking to make it back into the rotation (depending on how well Bennett is performing).
The Pens are no strangers to playing without Malkin for an extended period of time, but with a shortened season, Geno’s services are more important than ever.
Puck drops at 7:00 against Tampa.
Let’s Go Pens!
**EDIT** This morning, Sutter skated on line with Dupuis and Bennett, but with all of Bylsma’s famous line juggling, it would be stunning if Sutter didn’t see time with Neal today.