Malkin ready as Penguins await Crosby's return

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PITTSBURGH (AP) -- Sidney Crosby isn't the only superstar the Pittsburgh Penguins are waiting on to return to form.

Center Evgeni Malkin, like Crosby, spent the second half of last season on the sidelines with an injury. Unlike Crosby, Malkin will be ready to go when the Penguins open the season next week.

Malkin says he's fully recovered from a knee injury that limited him to 43 games a year ago. The Penguins struggled to score with the two All-Stars out, and while Crosby continues to slowly work his way back from concussion-like symptoms, Malkin has shown flashes of brilliance during the exhibition season.

A healthy Malkin would take the pressure off Crosby to get back on the ice and the Penguins say they expect to compete for another Atlantic Division title even if without Crosby.