The banged-up Pittsburgh Penguins took another hit.
They just hope it’s not a big one.
Evgeni Malkin had a goal and two assists before hurting his left leg early in the third period of Pittsburgh’s 4-1 win over the Detroit Red Wings on Saturday night.
“He was walking around after the game,” Penguins coach Dan Bylsma said.
Malkin was in fact walking, but with a noticeable limp.
He got tangled up with Detroit’s Luke Glendening, lost his balance and his left skate took the brunt of a collision with the boards behind Pittsburgh’s net. Malkin slowly got up and kept his left skate in the air as he was helped off the ice. He was called for holding on the play, but couldn’t serve the penalty because he was being evaluated.
Malkin moved past the 600-point mark for his career during the game and ranks among league leaders with 41 points this season.
NHL scoring leader Sidney Crosby scored two goals to help the Penguins win without standout defenseman Kris Letang, who was a late scratch because of an upper-body injury.
“Losing Kris before the game was tough,” Crosby said. “We stuck with it and found a way.”
Pittsburgh defenseman Brooks Orpik hasn’t played since being punched Dec. 7 by Boston’s Shawn Thornton, who was suspended by the league for 15 games on Saturday.
The Penguins might lose another player from their blue line because the NHL is trying to crack down on blows above the shoulders.
Defenseman Deryk Engelland put himself in danger of being suspended for an illegal hit to the head. Engelland landed his right shoulder high on Detroit forward Justin Abdelkader late in the first period and was ejected with a match penalty. Abdelkader struggled to get up, had to be helped off the ice and didn’t return.
“He dumps it in and I try to finish my check,” Engelland said. “Obviously I’m not trying to hit him in the head or anything like that, but I think I catch his chin a little bit before his body.”
Detroit defenseman Brendan Smith was suspended for five games two years ago for a similar hit.
“I know what it feels like because I’ve been in that position,” Smith said. “It’s a quick game, things happen.”
Pittsburgh’s Jeff Zatkoff made 28 saves, getting the start in part because he was playing near his hometown of Sterling Heights, Mich.