After missing more than a month due to a broken jaw, Sidney Crosby will return to the Pittsburgh Penguins lineup on Friday night when they face the New York Islanders for Game 2 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinal series.
Crosby was injured back on March 30 (against the Islanders) when he was hit in the face by a shot that was taken by his teammate, Brooks Orpik.
He missed the Penguins' final 11 games of the regular season and their first playoff game against the Islanders on Wednesday. Even though he missed the final month of the regular season he still finished third in the NHL scoring race with 56 points, trailing only Tampa Bay's Martin St. Louis and Steven Stamkos. Crosby held onto the scoring lead for 25 days before the Lightning duo was finally able to catch him. His point per game average of 1.56 was by far the best in the NHL and the second best of his career. The gap between Crosby and St. Louis (the No. 2 player in points per game) of .31 was the same as the gap between St. Louis and the No. 25 player.
The Penguins didn't really need Crosby on Wednesday night as they rolled to a 5-0 win, but getting him back makes what is one of the deepest rosters in the NHL that much better.
While they're getting Crosby back, it's expected that the Penguins will be without forward James Neal who was injured in the second period of Wednesday's game.