Evgeni Malkin C PIT 21 Hrs

Evgeni Malkin is still questionable for Game 1, but took a step in the right direction on Tuesday by officially returning to practice for the first time since sustaining a foot injury on March 23.

Malkin is close to returning, but Penguins coach Dan Bylsma would like to see how the superstar center feels on Wednesday before declaring him fit to play in the Pens' playoff opener versus Columbus. "I cant say right now. but I feel great, I skated the full practice, and we'll see (how the foot feels) tomorrow," said Malkin after Tuesday's skate.

Evgeni Malkin C PIT 2 Days

Evgeni Malkin (foot) is questionable for Game 1 against the Blue Jackets on Wednesday.

Malkin skated on Sunday but did not play in the season finale. "I don't have an expectation, nor do I have a definitive answer on what players will be available," coach Dan Bylsma said. Malkin ended the season with 23 goals and 72 points in 60 games.

Evgeni Malkin C PIT 4 Days

Evgeni Malkin (foot) skated with team strength and conditioning coach Mike Kadar before practice Friday.

It's still unclear if he'll be able to play before the end of the regular season. "If [the best thing] is rest to get ready for the playoffs, then that will be it," coach Dan Bylsma said. "If we get an opportunity to get him back in a game, we'll take it. But we're not going to rush it back just to get him that 60 minutes of hockey." Malkin has been sidelined since Mar. 23 because of a hairline fracture in his foot.

Evgeni Malkin C PIT 8 Days

Evgeni Malkin (foot) has started to skate lightly.

Malkin won't be back before the end of the regular season, but the real question is whether or not he will be available for Game 1 of the first round. Malkin is one of the best forwards in the world, so it would obviously be a big blow to the team if he isn't available.

Evgeni Malkin C PIT 13 Days

Evgeni Malkin (foot) is projected to return before the playoffs begin.

He has been sidelined with a hairline fracture in his foot since Mar. 23. That could make him available to return at some point next week.

Evgeni Malkin C PIT 22 Days

Evgeni Malkin is expected to miss the next 2-3 weeks with a foot injury.

In other words, Malkin's regular season is basically over. If that proves to be the case then he will finish with 23 goals and 72 points in 60 contests. The silver lining from the Penguins' perspective is that he should be fine for the start of the playoffs.

Evgeni Malkin C PIT 24 Days

Evgeni Malkin and the Pittsburgh Penguins weren't able to beat St. Louis Blues goalie Brian Elliott on Sunday, losing 1-0.

Malkin generated four PIM, an impressive seven SOG, one hit and one blocked shot on a busy night that didn't work out. The 27-year-old has had an effective 2013-14 season with 72 points, a +10 rating, 62 PIM and 191 SOG in 60 games played.

Evgeni Malkin C PIT 25 Days

Evgeni Malkin generated two goals and two assists on Saturday to propel Pittsburgh to a 4-3 overtime victory over Tampa Bay.

He picked up his 22nd and 23rd goals of the year and he helped set up power-play goals by Sidney Crosby and James Neal. Malkin has four markers in his last two outings and 72 points in 59 matches this season.

Evgeni Malkin C PIT 27 Days

Evgeni Malkin scored a pair of goals for the Penguins on Thursday, but it wasn't enough to prevent a 5-4 overtime loss to Detroit.

The goals were the 20th and 21st of the season for Malkin, who has now registered 68 points in 58 games. Lee Stempniak and Craig Adams also found the back of the net for Pittsburgh in the loss while James Neal dished out a couple of helpers.

Evgeni Malkin C PIT 1 Month

Evgeni Malkin scored a goal and registered an assist in Pittsburgh's 3-2 shootout win over Anaheim Friday night.

Malkin now has four points in his last three games and 19 goals with 45 assists in 52 games this season overall. Defenseman Deryk Engelland also scored for the Penguins in the win.