Crosby Returns To Penguins

Tanya Simon
January 17, 2020

Crosby helped set up Evgeni Malkin's goal less than 8 minutes in and picked up his first goal since October 29 in the third period.

Malkin finished with two goals and a pretty no-look drop pass to set up Bryan Rust's 19th of the season.

Crosby missed the last 28 games after undergoing core muscle surgery in mid-November.

Leon Draisaitl netted two goals and one assist while Connor McDavid collected three assists and goaltender Mike Smith made 30 saves for the Oilers, who sport a 5-1-1 mark in their past seven games.

The center last played against the Chicago Blackhawks on November 9 before having surgery November 14. However, rather than vacillating with their undisputed leader looking from the press, Pittsburgh hit the gas.

The Penguins were shockingly good while Crosby was sidelined, ranking first in the National Hockey League in Points% (.714), going 18-6-4 while averaging the sixth-most goals for (3.36) and ninth least goals against (2.79).

Instead, he left the fancy stuff to the rest of the Penguins.

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On Tuesday morning's skate, Crosby was placed between Jared McCann and Dominik Simon.

COLUMBUS, Ohio - Elvis Merzlikins recorded his second consecutive shutout and Columbus beat Atlantic Division-leading Boston for its fourth win in five games.

Crosby, who has been participating in full-contact practice with the Penguins since Saturday, took 21 shifts in the victory, logging 17:53 of ice time.

Zach Parise had two goals, and Marcus Foligno scored for the fifth time in five games for the Wild (20-20-6), who have lost four straight (0-3-1). Minnesota would not get closer. Crosby's goal 7:41 into the third restored a three-goal lead and when Simon scored 39 seconds later the rout was on. The Penguins have won four in a row, and five of six. Pateryn dressed expecting to play but was sent back to the locker room just before the opening faceoff when officials noticed Minnesota had 19 skaters dressed instead of the typical 18 (and two goalies). Center Ryan Donato, who was supposed to be struck, instead watched the game from the bench and saw no ice time. Pittsburgh scratched D Kevin Czuczman and C Sam Lafferty. Kucherov's 18th goal of the season made it 3-3 with 1:15 remaining in the third period.

Wild: Start a seven-game homestand on Thursday against Tampa Bay.

These are two teams heading in very opposite directions at the moment, so it's tough to imagine a scenario where Minnesota goes on the road and pulls out a win against a very hot Penguins team.

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