Sid the Kid shines in season debut as Pens blank Isles
Pittsburgh, PA (Sports Network) - Penguins superstar and team captain Sidney Crosby did not disappoint in his long-anticipated return to the lineup, scoring two goals and dishing out two assists while leading Pittsburgh to a 5-0 victory over the New York Islanders.
Crosby had been out of commission since early January, when he absorbed two hits in a matter of five days which resulted in him suffering a concussion.
The 24-year-old appeared in just 41 games last season and still led the Penguins in points with 66, although he didn't play after January 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 Penguins, who snapped a two- game skid. 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.
Anders Nilsson turned aside 31-of-36 shots in his first NHL start for the Islanders, who have lost 12 of their last 14 games since starting the season 3-1.
"It's tough to be happy right now," Nilsson said. "I let in five goals in three periods."
Crosby ignited an already hyped up CONSOL Energy Center crowd just 5:24 into the game. Crosby gathered a pass at the blue line, split a pair of defenders and beat Nilsson with a backhander from in close. The goal was Crosby's first since December 28, 2010.
"Part of waiting to play is that you're also waiting to get that first one. It came pretty early, which was nice," Crosby said.
The superstar assisted on Pittsburgh's next goal. Crosby slid a pass to the right point for Orpik, whose one-timer got past Nilsson with 3:31 remaining.
The Penguins scored on a power play just 3:17 into the middle stanza to make it a 3-0 game. Malkin stuffed home a rebound at the side of the net, with Crosby getting a secondary assist on the play.
Sullivan lit the lamp at the 5:53 mark. Malkin, positioned at the top of the left circle, slid a perfect pass to the side of the net for Sullivan, who completed the play with a tip-in for a 4-0 lead.
Crosby found the back of the net again at the 2:06 mark of the third period. After making a nice spin move along the right boards, Crosby threw a backhander on net. The puck squirted past Nilsson and into the net.
The Penguins have won all three of their games against the Islanders this season...New York fell to 0-5-2 on the road this season.
11/22 00:37:31 ET