Crosby seeks to build off thrilling debut against Blues

Sidney Crosby thrilled the hockey world in his highly- anticipated return to the ice on Monday and No. 87 will lead Pittsburgh tonight when the Penguins host the St. Louis Blues at Consol Energy Center.

Playing in his first game in over 10 months, Crosby notched two goals and two assists to lift the Penguins to a 5-0 home win over the New York Islanders. The former Hart Trophy winner had been out of commission since January, when he absorbed two hits in a matter of five days that resulted in him suffering a concussion.

The 24-year-old Crosby appeared in just 41 games last season and still led the Penguins in points with 66, although he didn't play after Jan. 5 when he took a hit from Tampa Bay's Victor Hedman. He had also absorbed a hard check to the head from then-Capitals forward David Steckel in the Winter Classic against Washington.

Crosby was all over the ice in almost 16 minutes of action, which resulted in many "Crosby! Crosby!" chants from the crowd.

"The goals and assists were great obviously, but just being back out there I can't really even describe it," Crosby said. "It was exciting. I was anxious. There were a lot of different things going through my mind. The main thing was to enjoy playing. That's something that I've missed over the last 10 months."

Evgeni Malkin added a goal and an assist for the first-place Penguins, who snapped a two-game skid and won for the second time in five games. Brooks Orpik and Steve Sullivan also lit the lamp.

Marc-Andre Fleury made 29 saves for his second shutout of the season and 21st of his career.

The Penguins, who have compiled a 7-1-1 record in the Steel City this year, are playing the second of three in a row at home.

St. Louis will try to get back on track tonight after losing two in a row on the heels of a three-game winning streak. The Blues dropped a 3-2 shootout decision Saturday in Minnesota and on Tuesday they lost by the same score in regulation to visiting Los Angeles.

The Blues and Kings were tied at 2-2 until Willie Mitchell's goal with 5:49 left in regulation lifted Los Angeles to the win.

Vladimir Sobotka and Alex Steen tallied for the Blues, while Jaroslav Halak allowed three goals on 28 shots in defeat.

"When you're scoring two goals a game you're living on a fine line," said St. Louis head coach Ken Hitchcock. "We've been on the right side of it for the most part, but we're going to have to find more offense if we expect to win."

Brian Elliot is expected to be back in the crease tonight for St. Louis. He is 7-1-0 on the year with a league-best 1.43 goals-against average. Elliot is 3-1-0 with a 3.06 GAA in five career games against Pittsburgh.

St. Louis is just 3-6-1 on the road this year compared to a 7-2-1 mark on home ice. The Blues will play their next game Friday against visiting Calgary, but will then head out on a three-game road trip.

The Blues notched a 1-0 overtime win over the visiting Penguins in the only meeting between the clubs last year. St. Louis has won four of six and six of the last nine in this series, but the Blues have dropped two of three in Pittsburgh.