Penguins: Latest Evgeni Malkin Injury Update

Pittsburgh Penguins forward Evgeni Malkin returned to practice on Thursday for the first time since March 11 (upper-body injury), and he hopes to return to game action by the end of their first-round series against the New York Rangers.

"I don't really have a timeline, but certainly that's our hope," head coach Mike Sullivan said. "We think, obviously, he's a difference-maker. He's an elite player. We're a better team when he's in our lineup, and we'll put him in our lineup when all of us that are involved with his health and where he's at physically believe that we can put him in a position to be successful and that he can help us win.

"I thought he looked really strong. It's the first time that he joined the rest of the team as far as some of the drills. He was involved in contact. I thought he looked really strong. He's been working all along on his conditioning and making sure that he stays with that. I think that's really going to help him as far as expediting his return."

Malkin hurt his shoulder when he was awkwardly hit into the boards against the Columbus Blue Jackets. He scored 27 goals with 58 points in 57 games during the regular season.

Pittsburgh won Game 1 of their series 5-2 over the Rangers on Wednesday night. Game 2 is set for 3:00 pm ET on Saturday.

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