They’re hoping a visit to Ottawa provides some additional good fortune.
Pittsburgh plays its lone game in a six-day stretch Tuesday night against the Eastern Conference-worst Senators, who have hardly been a pushover of late.
News had been virtually nonexistent regarding Crosby since the superstar began experiencing post-concussion symptoms in early January, but Monday the Penguins (40-22-8) finally got a look at their captain on the ice. Crosby participated in a light workout for about 15 minutes in full gear, the first action he’s had since last playing Jan. 5 against Tampa Bay.
While his return date is still unknown, Crosby said he hasn’t had any concussion-like symptoms for a few days.
“I’m not thinking too far ahead as far as a time frame,” said Crosby, who had 66 points in his first 41 games. “I just want to get better. This is part of the way to do that. I’m just kind of taking that step and seeing how it goes.”
Pittsburgh is 14-10-5 without him - good for fourth in the East - but appeared to be fading after a 3-6-4 stretch from Feb. 6-March 4.
The Penguins seem to be picking it up again, though. They won consecutive games for the first time in a month March 5 and 8, then after a lifeless 3-0 loss to Montreal on Saturday bounced back with a 5-1 victory over Edmonton on Sunday.
“I’ve learned it’s a long season and there’s just going to be some tough ones and bad nights,” said Marc-Andre Fleury(notes), who allowed three goals on 12 shots before being pulled Saturday but made 28 saves Sunday. “You have to be able to put them behind you as fast as possible, forget about it and just move onto the next game.”
Fleury is 2-4-0 with a 4.55 goals-against average in eight regular-season games in Ottawa, but he has a 2.13 GAA while winning his last five postseason games in Canada’s capital.
Tuesday’s game is Pittsburgh’s only one until Sunday, so there will be plenty of emphasis on picking up two points - particularly against the East’s worst team.
After an 0-9-2 stretch from Jan. 14-Feb. 9, though, the Senators (25-35-9) have played much better. They’re 8-5-1 since and won the first three games of a four-game trip before falling 6-4 in the finale Sunday at Buffalo.
“It was a really good road trip,” said Senators coach Cory Clouston, whose team had won 2-1 in each of the previous three games. “(This) wasn’t a bad game. We didn’t get outworked. We didn’t get outchanced. We just weren’t as good as we needed to be in front of our net. Four goals should get you the win.”
Ottawa was active at the trade deadline peddling veterans for draft picks, and Tuesday one of their top scorers returns to Scotiabank Place. Alex Kovalev(notes), who had 32 goals and 44 assists in a season-and-a-half with the Senators, was traded to Pittsburgh Feb. 24 for a conditional seventh-round pick.
Perhaps a familiar setting will give Kovalev a spark. He has only one point in eight games in his second stint with the Penguins.
“I think he’s going to want to prove something, that’s for sure,” coach Dan Bylsma said.