Penguins Notebook: Shot to the chin didn't bother Malkin yesterday

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Penguins leading scorer Evgeni Malkin brushed off what looked like a scary moment in yesterday's 7-1 win against Philadelphia at Mellon Arena.

Late in the first period, Flyers center Mike Richards cruised behind the Penguins' net past Malkin, who was on one knee. Richards went airborne when he clipped Malkin, and Richards' skate came up and caught Malkin in the chin.

It was Richards' boot, not his blade, that made contact. Last month, Florida's Richard Zednik needed quick, life-saving attention when he was inadvertently cut in the neck by the blade of teammate Olli Jokinen's skate.

"It was so fast," Malkin said of the Richards play, through translator George Birman. "I didn't really have a chance to think about it. It's a good thing it wasn't something serious, but it's not a big deal for me."

Hanging tough

For two days before the game, Penguins forward Max Talbot assured everyone he was ready to play despite reinjuring a stubborn high ankle sprain last Sunday.

When game time came, though, it was Talbot who needed some reassurance -- and that came when he was able to play without too much trouble.

"I was really worried," he said, "but I'm happy I played because it went well."

Talbot had an assist after sitting out Thursday's win against Buffalo.

"I tweaked it a couple times, but nothing bad," he said. "It was a big win for the team, and I was happy to be a part of that."

He first injured the left ankle in November and had resigned himself to the fact he won't feel healthy until he has time to rest in the offseason. But he found he could count on the ankle to be sound enough not to limit him.

"It's just OK. It's sensitive," Talbot said. "I battled. If it stays like that until the end of the year, I'll be kind of happy."

Short afternoon

Flyers center and Plum native R.J. Umberger, who had 10 goals and 18 points in 20 career games against the Penguins going into yesterday's game, was held without a point and played just 7:28.

He left the game early in the second period with what was described as a sprained left knee. There was no immediate word on the severity of the injury or when he might be able to play next.

Dads are undefeated

The Penguins are in the midst of their second annual dad's trip.

They might want to stage them more often, considering the team is 3-0 with the contingent of fathers watching. They won at Dallas and Phoenix during last year's trip.

The group will tag along to New York tomorrow and watch the Penguins' game that night against the Rangers at Madison Square Garden.

Slap shots

Some round numbers from the game: Malkin's first goal was his 40th of the season; Petr Sykora's assist on that goal was the 350th of his career, and he later picked up his 25th goal of the season. ... When Riley Cote of Philadelphia and the Penguins' Ryan Malone squared off at 10:39 of the first period after Cote upended Sykora, Cote was assessed his 23rd major penalty of the season, all for fighting. He has the second-most major penalties in the NHL this season and is tied for the most fighting majors. It was Malone's eighth fighting major of the season. ... Penguins winger Georges Laraque served the first game of this three-game suspension for elbowing Buffalo's Nathan Paetsch. ... The Penguins scratched centers Sidney Crosby (ankle) and Ryan Stone and goaltender Dany Sabourin. Stone was reassigned to Wilkes-Barre Scranton after the game. Philadelphia scratched defensemen Derian Hatcher (leg) and Randy Jones and forwards Scottie Upshall, Steve Downie and Denis Tolpeko.



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