Sidney Crosby has been able to step right in and contribute high winning streak. The Philadelphia Flyers won't be too happy to see their rival's captain back on the ice.
Crosby's Penguins look to make it 12 straight victories in today's matinee between Atlantic Division rival.
Crosby has played in two games since missing 40 straight due to concussion- like symptoms and a soft tissue ailment in his neck. All told, the center had played in just eight games since suffering his concussion back in January of last year and logged a pair of assists in his first game back on Thursday, a 2-0 win over the Eastern Conference-leading Rangers.
The 24-year-old added three more assists on Saturday as Pittsburgh extended the league's longest winning streak this season with a 5-2 win over New Jersey. Crosby now has 14 points in 10 games this year and the Pens pulled within two points of the Rangers for first place in the East and Atlantic Division.
"It's been good. I had some good chances today that I want to convert, but that just takes time, getting comfortable in those areas," Crosby said. "Obviously when a team plays as well as we have the last couple of games it makes it easier for anyone to come back."
Matt Cooke scored twice versus the Devils, Pascal Dupuis matched a career high with his 20th goal of the season and Evgeni Malkin tallied his 40th goal of the campaign. Malkin also leads the NHL with 87 points, while Jordan Staal now has 13 points over a 10-game point streak.
Marc-Andre Fleury needed to make just 12 saves for his 10th win in a row and 39th of the season. Pittsburgh is on its longest win streak since claiming 12 straight victories from Nov. 17-Dec. 11 of last year. It hasn't lost since Feb. 19 at Buffalo and its current string of victories includes four in a row on the road.
The Flyers will get their first look at Crosby this season and the Penguins captain has torched the rival club over his career to the tune of 26 goals, 36 assists and 62 points in 36 meetings. Crosby, of course, did not play when the Pens snapped a three-game slide to the Flyers with a 6-4 road win on Feb. 18, their eighth victory in their past 10 trips to Philadelphia.
The Flyers hope to rebound today after falling to 7-1-1 over their past nine outings with yesterday's shootout setback to the Bruins. Ilya Bryzgalov made 31 saves as his seven-game win streak came to an end. He was beaten all three times in the shootout and the Flyers missed on their chance in the third round of a 3-2 setback after their first two skaters converted.
Philadelphia trailed by two goals in regulation before tallies from Matt Read and Jakub Voracek, with the latter evening the game on a deflection with 4:17 remaining in regulation.
"We came out flat in the first period and regrouped in the first intermission," said the rookie Read, who potted his 20th goal of the season. "I thought we played a good 40 minutes after the first period."
Still, Read knows that the Flyers will need to come out stronger against the red-hot Penguins.
"Pittsburgh is on fire right now and we've got to come out, first shift of the game, and take it to them, show them who's in control of that game. It should be a fun game and hopefully we play a full 60 minutes," said Read.
Philadelphia, which is three points up on New Jersey for fifth place in the East and three back of Pittsburgh, played without defensemen Pavel Kubina (upper body) and Andrej Meszaros (lower body), then lost fellow blueliner Andreas Lilja early in the game after he was hit in the neck by a puck.
Forward Maxime Talbot also departed the game due to an upper-body injury and did not return.
Philadelphia begins a five-game homestand today.