PITTSBURGH (93-7 The FAN) — Penguins defenseman Brooks Orpik and forward Dustin Jeffrey returned to action Thursday night for this first time since last season in Pittsburgh’ 3-1 win against Montreal at Consol Energy Center.

Jeffrey had surgery on his right knee in March, and Orpik had abdominal surgery over the summer.

“I thought they both did really well in their debut,” Penguins coach Dan Bylsma said. “(Orpik) played about 18 minutes, probably more than originally planned. I though PKs in the second period got (him) a few more minutes there. He was outstanding on the penalty kill. I thought he looked really sharp in his gap and playing defense, and even played physical tonight.

“Dustin Jeffrey, limited time, but he had a real good chance at the net. I thought he was real smart in his play and added on the power play in the third when we moved him into that position.”

Orpik was a plus-1 on the night and played nearly 4:30 of penalty kill time as the Penguins were shorthanded four times. Jeffrey had 7:54 of ice time and registered three shots.

Coming into the game Bylsma said one, possibly two players could return to the lineup from injury. Many wondered if forwards Evgeni Malkin or Tyler Kennedy could be part of that group, but Bylsma had explanations for why both were held out.

Malkin is still day-to-day with soreness in his surgically repaired right knee. Bylsma says there hasn’t been a setback. Rather, the heavy schedule would not help Malkin’s knee to fully heal.

“It’s just with the amount of games we’re playing, if he were to play every day we would be dealing with him being sore and stiff,” Bylsma said. “It needs to calm down, to get better.”

As for Kennedy, he was re-evaluated after returning home from Minnesota and diagnosed with a concussion. He is listed as out indefinitely.

Other injuries of note:

  • Sidney Crosby continues to practice with full contact and there is still no timeline for his return.
  • Rookie defenseman Brian Strait has a hyperextended left elbow, which he suffered in the second period at Winnipeg Monday, and will be out for several weeks.

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