The Pittsburgh Penguins announced that captain Sidney Crosby will return to their lineup for Game 2 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals on Friday night, having missed action since March 30 after breaking his jaw on an errant Brooks Orpik shot.
This might just give the Penguins enough to get by the New York Islanders.
As you know, a 5-0 lead is considered the most dangerous in hockey, and the Penguins established that lead in the first 37:07 of Wednesday’s Game 1. With Crosby back, perhaps that lead could become 11-0 or 14-0; and not only would the Penguins have chased Evgeni Nabokov but also backup Kevin Poulin, leading the Islanders to suit up GM Garth Snow for the third period.
In all seriousness, the playoffs are a better place with the best player in the world (sorry, Giroux) in them. The Penguins have been practicing with a power-play unit of Crosby, Jarome Iginla, Kris Letang, Evgeni Malkin and Chris Kunitz. There should be a federal background check necessary before being able to carry that kind of weapon.
Said Crosby, via the Penguins:
“I’m cleared to play tonight,” Crosby said. “I’m excited to get back in there and play in the playoffs.
“(The doctor) was around and I wasn’t sure if he would give me the OK or even consider it. I’m happy that he did and happy to be back. ... He's comfortable with me getting hit at this point. That's the biggest thing. He has to be comfortable putting me out there. To hear him say that allows me to be comfortable, too."
Game 2 of the quarterfinals is Friday night in Pittsburgh. Crosby had nine points, all assists, in five games against the Islanders this season, more points than he had against any other team in the NHL.
Fare thee well, Islanders.