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Evgeni Malkin confident game is coming back after 'so-so' return

NEW YORK, N.Y. — The extra day of rest between Games 2 and 3 has served Evgeni Malkin well.

Deeming his Game 2 performance as “so-so” after a rewatch of the tape, Malkin said on Tuesday that he feels his game is coming back to 100 percent following his return to the Pittsburgh Penguins lineup after missing a month with an upper-body injury.

“I skate a little bit more everyday. I feel more my legs, my stick,” he said from his stall inside Madison Square Garden. “Everything is coming back. I not play long time, little bit lose my hands. Now it’s all back and I try to control puck today a little bit more, play at center whole game and try for my best game.”

The Penguins dropped Game 2 to the New York Rangers 4-2, evening the series 1-1, and Malkin’s rust showed. He played the second-most even strength minutes for the Penguins, but their possession numbers were much better without him (57.1 percent) than with him (41 percent).

As Lambert wrote on Monday, it’s a tough call to sit an elite player who may not be 100 percent healthy, especially in the postseason, but that production wasn’t something you’d expect from Malkin.

On the road for a game in a building he enjoys playing, Malkin is confident we'll see the old No. 71 for Game 3 Tuesday night.

“I hope and I believe today I will play better,” he said.



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