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Published: Tuesday, 6/3/2008

Malkin missing in action

BY ZACH SILKA
BLADE SPORTS WRITER
The Penguins' Ryan Malone loses his glove as he gets pinned between the Red Wings' Niklas Kronwall, left, and Chris Osgood during the second period last night in Detroit. The Penguins' Ryan Malone loses his glove as he gets pinned between the Red Wings' Niklas Kronwall, left, and Chris Osgood during the second period last night in Detroit.
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DETROIT - A missing person's alert was officially issued for Evgeni Malkin before last night's Game 5.

The 21-year-old Pittsburgh forward entered the game against the Red Wings last night with zero points in the Stanley Cup finals. After the second overtime last night, he still had not scored.

Penguins coach Michel Therrien stressed the importance of getting Malkin involved on offense following his team's morning skate yesterday.

"The last two games, I thought he worked hard," Therrien said. "But right now, not much is happening for him.

"So sometimes you need that break, and Gino, he needs a break."

Therrien added Malkin hasn't lost the backing from the others in the Pittsburgh dressing room.

"He's got all the support," Therrien said. "He's got the support from his teammates. He's got the support from the coaching staff, as long as he's working.

"The poor kid, he feels the pressure. There's no doubt. He's a great kid."

Malkin entered the finals with 19 points in the Penguins' first 14 playoff contests and still found himself tied for third in the NHL in scoring before Game 5.

Prior to last night's game, Malkin was the last player off the ice on either side following pregame warm-ups, getting in a few last-minute shots before heading back to the dressing room.

"Basically, it's up to us to make sure he feels comfortable," Penguins captain Sidney Crosby said. "And we're all still confident, and it's important that he's confident himself."

HOLMER BACK: Detroit's top-line forward Tomas Holmstrom returned to the lineup after sitting out Game 4 with a hamstring injury.

Holmstrom was injured late in Game 3 after Pittsburgh defenseman Hal Gill sent him crashing into the Penguins goal.

"You want all your players," Red Wings coach Mike Babcock said. "I don't know if Holmer's leg was broke, he [still] wouldn't be playing anyway. That's just the way it is."

Dan Cleary had taken Holmstrom's place on the first line with Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg.

Holmstrom also moved back to his usual spot on the power play - parked in front of the net.

"He's a good player for us and helps our power play," Babcock said. "And our power play hasn't been all-world, by any means, but their penalty kill has been good.

"And so it helps out with that and gives us more depth and puts Cleary with [Kris] Draper, and that gives us a better line and a line that hangs onto the puck more."

CHELIOS SCRATCHED: Red Wings defenseman Chris Chelios remained a healthy scratch in Game 5 after appearing in 14 playoff games.

Chelios has not been on the ice since missing Game 6 of the Western Conference final against the Dallas Stars with a leg injury.

Babcock has opted to go with Andreas Lilja since then in place of the 46-year-old.

"We're just going to do everything we can to win," Babcock said. "[The perception] that Chelios is not included or something, that's not the case at all. He's a big part of our team every day in our preparation and what's going on."



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