The Penguins saw their season-best six-game home winning streak cut short with Wednesday's 3-2 overtime loss versus St. Louis, as Crosby was held off the stat sheet one night after registering two goals and two assists in his 2011-12 debut. Crosby had been out nearly a year with concussion-related symptoms suffered in early January.
"I had a couple chances and bobbled one and missed a pass," said Crosby, who managed two shots. "Whether it's rust, or whatever it was, that's not good."
Marc-Andre Fleury turned aside 40-of-43 shots in a losing cause. The Penguins are 7-1-2 in the Steel City and 6-0-1 in the previous seven home contests. They are first in the Atlantic Division with 28 points, one ahead of Philadelphia, and will hit the road for four games after Friday against the Canadiens, Rangers, Capitals and Hurricanes.
Pittsburgh's other star, Evgeni Malkin, assisted on both goals versus St. Louis and has a team-best six multi-point games this season. He has collected 13 points over his last 10 games. Defenseman Paul Martin will play in his 500th NHL game for the Pens, who have posted 32 or more shots on goal in 11 straight games.
Ottawa will wrap up a six-game road trip tonight and is 3-1-1 so far on the swing following Sunday's 2-1 overtime loss at Vancouver. Chris Higgins scored 2:18 into overtime to lead the Canucks, while Colin Greening scored for the Senators, who had won three in a row following a five-game slide.
Alex Auld made 25 saves for the Senators. Ottawa's last win in Vancouver came in March 2004.
"They're an elite team in the league and I thought we deserved a better fate tonight," Senators forward Jason Spezza said on the team's site. "We had some quality scoring chances and at the end of a real tough road trip we played a real good hockey game."
The Senators are 5-5-1 as the visitor this season. Forward Milan Michalek moved to within one point of 300 for his NHL career with a goal and an assist in a 5-2 win in Edmonton on Nov. 17. Goaltender Craig Anderson could be back in the crease tonight for Ottawa. He did not play against the Canucks because of a stiff neck.
Pittsburgh won the season series with Ottawa last season (3-1) for the first time since posting an identical mark in 2006-07. The Sens have dropped two straight and three of four contests on the road in this series.