The Penguins have a 10-point lead over second-place Washington in the Metropolitan Division.

Heck, if they keep accumulating points the way they have lately — their 4-1 victory against Detroit Saturday night at Joe Louis Arena raised their record in the past nine games to 8-1 — the Penguins just might lock up the division title by the first of the new year.

And considering the way they’ve been losing players in recent weeks, they might have to before they run out of bodies.

The latest candidate for injured-reserve is center Evgeni Malkin, who had three points in the first two periods before being helped to the dressing room at 2:19 of the third.

He broke up a short-handed two-on-one rush by Detroit, but slammed skates-first into the boards behind the Penguins net. Malkin stayed on the ice for a couple of minutes and did not put any weight on his left foot while going to the locker room.

There was no immediate word on the precise nature or severity of his injury and Malkin was seen walking into the training room — slowly, but with no apparent difficulty — after the game.

Coach Dan Bylsma said he will be further examined, and declined to speculate on whether Malkin could be out for a significant period.

The Penguins entered the weekend with no fewer than seven players unavailable because of injuries and an eighth, winger James Neal, who can’t play because of a suspension.

A lot of teams would consider that a crisis.

The Penguins (23-10-1) probably think of it as the Good Old Days.

Even before Malkin was hurt, Kris Letang sat out the game with an unspecified injury.

As with Malkin, Bylsma said Letang will undergo further examination today and he doesn’t know if he will be out for an extended period.