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WASHINGTON (AP) Injured star Evgeni Malkin was out of the Pittsburgh Penguins‘ lineup for Game 2 of their second-round series against the Washington Capitals.Coach Mike Sullivan confirmed about two hours before Sunday’s puck drop that Malkin was out for the third consecutive game. Malkin appeared to injure his left leg in Game 5 of Pittsburgh’s first-round series against Philadelphia and has not played since.”We’re a better team when Geno’s in our lineup Gabriel Gagne Jersey Womens ,” Sullivan said. ”Having said that, I don’t think our team looks for any sort of excuses. I think we try to rally around one another. It’s a next-man-up attitude, we have capable people in our lineup, it provides opportunities for others to play a more significant role and they want to take advantage of those opportunities.”Malkin’s continued absence affords a bigger role for centers Derick Brassard and Riley Sheahan, and, combined with an upper-body injury to Carl Hagelin, keeps Carter Rowney and Dominik Simon in the lineup. On Saturday James Van Riemsdyk Jersey Womens , it looked like Malkin could be ready to return; he participated in a full practice, skating on the fourth line and taking turns on the top power-play unit.But Sullivan and Malkin both said the 31-year-old Russian would play only if he was ready from the first shift and was not limited to a minor role. Sullivan said Malkin did not experience a setback and could return for Game 3 in Pittsburgh on Tuesday.”It doesn’t matter who’s in the game. You just did need to win the game,” Washington coach Barry Trotz said. ”Obviously he’s a top player. There’s no question about it. It’s undeniable. But at the same time, it doesn’t really matter.”Malkin had three goals and two assists in five first-round games. Without him, the Penguins eliminate the Flyers in Game 6 a week ago and erased a two-goal deficit Thursday to take a 1-0 series lead on the Capitals.The potent Penguins power play misses an important piece without Malkin, though it only got two opportunities for a total of 2:32 in Game 1.”It was limited time, so it’s hard to evaluate whether or not we were able to have success Matt Cullen Jersey Womens , with or without him,” Sullivan said. ”We have capable guys. The people we have are very capable of being successful. We just have to find ways to have success if given the opportunity.”—AP Sports Writer Howard Fendrich contributed to this report.— WINNIPEG, Manitoba — It’s only December, but Sunday’s game between the Tampa Bay Lightning and the Winnipeg Jets at Bell MTS Place could be a preview of next spring’s Stanley Cup final.Both teams have been making a good case.The Jets have won eight of nine games to push their record to 21-9-2 for 44 points, good for first place in the Central Division going into Saturday night’s action. Article continues below ...The Lightning, meanwhile, have the best record in the NHL at 25-7-1 for 51 points and have won eight consecutive games Derek Grant Jersey Womens , the second-longest winning streak in the league this season, trailing only the Buffalo Sabres’ 10.The Jets will be playing their third game in four nights on Sunday and are coming off overtime wins over the Edmonton Oilers (5-4) and Chicago Blackhawks (4-3) on Thursday and Friday, respectively.The Lightning, meanwhile, dismissed the Toronto Maple Leafs 4-1 on Thursday, their nearest rival in the Atlantic Division, and now embark on a four-game road trip.Lightning coach Jon Cooper thought his team controlled one minute of that game and the Leafs controlled the other 59. But the Lightning scored two goals in the last minute of the second period.“That was the game Erik Karlsson Jersey Womens ,” Cooper told the Tampa Bay Times.The Jets and Lightning split two games last season, with each team winning on home ice.All eyes will be the Jets’ Mark Scheifele, who scored the winner on Friday and has rocketed into the league’s top five scorers in the last six weeks with 43 points, and Lightning captain Steven Stamkos, who has 15 goals and 33 points in 33 games.In addition to having 20 goals, sitting just three behind right winger Patrik Laine for the team lead, Scheifele also centers the No. 1 power play unit.The Jets have scored eight times with the man-advantage in the past four games to move back into top spot in the league with a 30.2 percent efficiency. The Lightning are second at 29.3 percent.Tampa Bay is the most prolific scoring team in the league with 134 goals and the Jets are third with 116.Jets coach Paul Maurice has the utmost confidence in his assistant captain and believes Scheifele is playing the same type of hockey he was late last year when the Jets made it to the Western Conference finals.“He’s almost at that playoff level where he was last year ,” he told The Winnipeg Sun after Friday’s game. “And (he’s scoring) big goals for us, game-winners and from different places. He’s just been great.”The battle of goaltenders will also be front and center. The Jets’ Connor Hellebuyck has won five of his last six starts and Lightning netminder Andrei Vasilevskiy returned from an injury on Thursday to make 48 saves in his first action in more than a month.Hellebuyck was second in voting for the Vezina Trophy last season for the NHL’s top goaltender and Vasilevskiy was third.

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