Penguins' Evgeni Malkin set to return for opening playoff series

Carl Hagelin is also expected to return at some point during the series after missing the last 16 games with a lower-body injury.

After being derailed by a slew injuries, Pittsburgh will finally get somereinforcement.

Penguins center Evgeni Malkin is set to return from a upper-body injury in the team's opening playoff series beginning Wednesday at PPG Paints Arena against the Blue Jackets, the team announced.

Malkin, who last played on March 15, participated in full-contact practice on Tuesday alongsideBryan Rust and Phil Kessel. Malkinfinished the regular season with 33 goals and 72 points in 62 games.

"I tried everything today," Malkin said Tuesday. "Slap shots, wrist shots, one-timers, all three shots I feel so much better.

"Three weeks is a long time. The first game I'll try to do my best. It's not easy. What can you do? Just play. I'll play the first shift and after just keep going. I'll play my game. Control the puck, take a couple hits and be ready to play."

In addition to Malkin, wingerCarl Hagelin is also expected to returnat some point during the series after missing the last 16 games with a lower-body injury.

The Penguinsgot a boost withdefensemenTrevor DaleyandOlli Maattaback in the lineup atthe end of the regular season, but suffered a crucial loss last week when fellow defenseman Kris Letang was scheduled to undergo surgery to repaira herniated discin his neck and given a recovery timetable offour to six months.

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