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NHL Playoffs: Evgeni Malkin returns to full practice

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The Penguins get good news and display some interesting lines at Tuesday's practice ahead of the start of the NHL Playoffs on Wednesday night at home against the Columbus Blue Jackets

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

In preparation of the playoffs the Penguins took a day off yesterday but were back in the ice this morning in Cranberry. Lots of questions were answered immediately with how they lined up.

First of all, and even if expected it's great to see Evgeni Malkin slot back into the lineup. Also very interesting that the team continues to pair him with Phil Kessel and not try the 3-line split that they've used so frequently to utilize Malkin, Kessel and Sidney Crosby all on different lines.

Also, based on today we have an indication that Carter Rowney is ahead of Josh Archibald for the last spot in the lineup right now. Rowney's been producing points here lately, and has more experience, but Archibald's speed has been so noticeable.

Defensively, the Pens have had their first full practice in a while with healthy bodies to choose from

The Olli Maatta - Trevor Daley duo struggled mightily together in the regular season, but in a 2nd pairing role. Would it be any better in the playoffs? Doesn't seem like a lot of confidence there. Interesting to see them using Brian Dumoulin and Ron Hainsey as basically a defacto shutdown pair.

Mark Streit looks like the odd healthy man out, based on today. Not exactly unexpected if you've been following the tea leaves on that. Also, if you didn't hear (and lots has been going on, it's easy to lose in the shuffle) but Chad Ruhwedel has an aircast on his wrist this week, so knock off one more name as a potential option to play, for the time being at least.

Chris Kunitz was seen on crutches lately, nothing is confirmed of course this time of year but it's believed to be a broken foot. It happened on 3/31 against Chicago, so if he's got a similar 4-6 week timeline as Hagelin then it means we won't see Kunitz or the first round (or even second, if they make it).

Hagelin has been skating a little recently, out since 3/10 for 4-6 weeks with a broken foot. We've just passed the 4 week mark, so this is the beginning of that window. I wouldn't think him ruled out of this series by any means however it's clear at this point he's not medically cleared to join the team and almost surely is out for Game 1.

Finally, there was a little mystery and intrigue when Tristan Jarry wasn't sent to the AHL yesterday, unlike 5 others. Matt Murray didn't dress for either weekend game. Was he hurt? Did he get nicked up in his last start? Rumors and questions abounded, but luckily Murray was at practice this morning and is seemingly still good to go for tomorrow night.

The playoffs begin tomorrow night, the Pens are at home.