Evgeni Malkin will return to the lineup against the Philadelphia Flyers on Monday.
The center has missed 23 games with a lower-body injury. The Penguins are 16-5-2 since he last played in a 2-1 loss to the Boston Bruins on March 16.
“We work closely with our medical staff and sometimes we have target dates on when we think is the opportune time,” coach Mike Sullivan said. “Obviously those are always subject to change based on the player feedback and whether or not a player is ready or he isn’t ready, but there are certain stages of the return to play process that every player needs to go through in order to put that player in a position to be successful when he does return to play, and ‘Geno’ went through that process, just like every other player does.”
Malkin has scored 24 points (eight goals, 16 assists) in 29 games.
“It’s exciting for me to have another tool out there,” forward Jeff Carter said. “I think for the whole team, it’s something that they’ve been kind of looking forward to, getting everybody back healthy and just kind of seeing what we got here with a full lineup. That’s one guy back, we got a couple more we’ve got to get back and then should be looking pretty good.”
Defenseman Mike Matheson is week to week after being hit in the face by a puck during the second period of a 3-0 win at the Washington Capitals on Saturday.
Forward Brandon Tanev skated with contact Monday for the first time since sustaining an upper-body injury April 3 but will not play.
Pittsburgh (34-15-3), which has clinched a berth in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, leads the MassMutual East Division by two points over the Washington Capitals and four over the New York Islanders. The top four teams will qualify for the playoffs.