By: Chris Gates

PITTSBURGH (93-7 The FAN) — Forwards Steve Sullivan and Evgeni Malkin did not practice Wednesday, but head coach Dan Bylsma insisted both are OK and will be available to play at 7 p.m. tonight against the New York Islanders at Consol Energy Center.

Bylsma said the two were given maintenance days. The Penguins have played 11 games over the last 21 days, which has allowed for little chances to rest between games. The Penguins have played more games than any other NHL team to start the season.

Bylsma said to expect more maintenance days in the near future, specifically for Malkin.

“With not a lot of rest time in between games, I could see maintenance days until we get some time to have days off and good practice time,” Bylsma said, according to the team’s official website. “That’s how I see it going. We do have a few times in November where we do have periods of rest and four days in between games. I can see (Malkin) getting better rest then and practice days as well.

“We’re more dealing with body soreness (with Malkin) from playing a game and not really having had much skating and conditioning versus anything else.”

Malkin has played in just four games so far this season because of recurring soreness in his surgically repaired knee. Bylsma said Malkin is doing better now than after his last appearance Oct. 13 vs. Washington.

Other notes:

  • Forward Chris Kunitz left practice a little early but Bylsma says he’s fine and is expected to play tonight.
  • Defenseman Zbynek Michalek did not practice as he begins the early stages of recovery for a broken finger.

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