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Malkin returning to Penguins lineup vs. Lightning

The SportsXchange

Pittsburgh Penguins center Evgeni Malkin will return to the lineup Monday night against the visiting Tampa Bay Lightning after missing the last four games with a concussion.

Malkin practiced on Sunday and received clearance to play. He skated along with his regular line during practice on Monday.

"We followed protocol carefully and took every precaution possible," Penguins coach Dan Bylsma said on NHL.com. "In this case, Evgeni had memory loss that returned. He felt good for seven full days. He's worked out hard on and off the ice for those seven days, full contact, full go in practice. We're not talking about gut feelings. He's gone through the protocol and the steps.

"It's been seven full days. As coaches we aren't involved with the protocol. He's seen doctors and went through the regiment and finished all those (Sunday)."

Malkin sustained the concussion on Feb. 22 against the Florida Panthers. He was injured when Panthers defenseman Erik Gudbranson checked him into with the end boards. Malkin had short-term memory loss and was put on injured reserve.

The reigning league MVP told reporters Monday that he did not have headaches or other symptoms.

"I remember the whole game, just not the hit," Malkin said. "The next six days I felt good. My memory is good, no headaches."

He has four goals and 17 assists in 18 games this season.
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