Crosby Returns to the Penguins Lineup on Tuesday

Ruben Hill
January 15, 2020

Sullivan stopped to correct himself: "Or 1 and 1A, I should say".

The Penguins captain has been out since he suffered an injury on November 9 and underwent surgery to fix a sports hernia.

Through 18 games, the Cole Harbour native has scored six goals and 21 points.

Crosby had a point on four of the seven goals the Penguins scored to post a 7-3 victory over the Wild.

They were the top two stars of the game.

"We're playing well", Crosby said.

In the third period, however, is when Crosby really got to his game. "When you watch what he's been able to do, and certainly in my time here, it's just hard to get surprised".

What was surprising is how the Penguins survived Crosby's two-month absence. The Penguins went 18-6-4 during Crosby's layoff, the second-best record in the National Hockey League over that span, relying on disciplined play and balanced scoring to rocket up the standings.

So, leading up to the game, the Penguins had players attempt to translate some Pittsburgh-based slang words.

"Every player is important here in the locker room, but Sid is the captain", Malkin said. He is our leader, a great player, great teammate - you see tonight, we play so much better. "Having him out there and the pace he plays with and the plays he makes, it makes us that much more unsafe". We have great four lines. Power play is better. "We're glad he's back".

The third video featured "jumbo", "pop", and "redd up". "I felt like we did a good job of building off of that".

Crosby was in the spotlight, but Malkin also shined.

"He's been working so hard to kind of get back in game shape and get that speed back, get that conditioning back", Rust said.

"I still had a couple shifts where I felt like were a little tough, but as far as getting a rhythm, it helps to get on the power play early and get your feet under you a bit", Crosby said.

Bryan Rust slung in a drop pass from Malkin at 14:04 and by 15:05, it was 4-0 Pittsburgh after Malkin's centering feed deflected in behind goalie Devan Dubnyk. The goal was so improbable that it created such an optical illusion that it was originally credited to Patric Hornqvist, who waved at a puck that never touched his blade. "They're playing well even without him". Perhaps that's wishful thinking, as the Penguins would prefer not to have to lean so heavily on one but rather rely on both.

First, his backhand went in off defenseman Matt Dumba's stick at 7:41. Jared McCann scored for the fourth time in five games on a tap-in goal late in the first period that came at the end of a highlight-reel sequence in which John Marino feathered a cross-ice pass to Dominik Simon, who redirected it to McCann on the doorstep.

"I don't know, he's Russian", Rust said with a laugh.

That's the best way to describe Crosby's comeback game on a hockey night that was perfectly Pittsburgh: Amazing n'at.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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