The Sidney Crosby watch has been on high alert even though the Pittsburgh Penguins have held up superbly in the absence of their superstar captain. After completing a sweep of a three-game road trip on Sunday, the big question in the Steel City is whether Crosby will be in the lineup when the Penguins host the Minnesota Wild on Tuesday night.
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Crosby has been sidelined for 28 games while recuperating from core muscle surgery but rejoined the team for practice on the road trip, which concluded with Pittsburgh's 4-3 shootout victory in Arizona. "Guys are competing, we're finding different ways to win," Penguins coach Mike Sullivan said after his team won for the 14th time in 18 games (14-3-1) to climb into second place in the Metropolitan Division. The Wild dug themselves out of an early-season hole with an 11-game point streak but they are heading in the wrong direction again, losing three straight and five of six (1-4-1). "We looked at January as a homestand, and we haven't really done much (with) it. It's frustrating," forward Marcus Foligno said. "We can still salvage it and get it back before the All-Star break, to make something out of it."
TIME: 7 p.m. ET. TV: NBC Sports Network, AT&T Sportsnet-Pittsburgh
ABOUT THE WILD (20-19-6): Minnesota dropped into a tie with Chicago for last place in the Central Division after managing only one goal in each of its past two losses while failing to convert on all seven power-play opportunities, including 0-for-5 in Sunday's 4-1 setback to Vancouver. "We didn't get beat. We beat ourselves in a lot of categories," Foligno said. "It seems like a lot of losses like that have happened this year where we beat ourselves." Foligno has been on a tear with four goals over his last four games.
ABOUT THE PENGUINS (28-12-5): Defenseman Kris Letang was named the captain for the Metropolitan Division for the All-Star Game, replacing Washington Capitals star Alex Ovechkin, who has decided to bypass the contest. Evgeni Malkin, who has taken over Crosby's spot on the No. 1 line since his injury, collected a pair of assists at Arizona to give him five points during a three-game streak and 30 over his last 19 contests. Malkin also has had his way against the Wild with seven goals and 16 points in 14 meetings.
1. Penguins G Tristan Jarry is 9-3-1 with a 1.75 goals-against average at home.
2. Wild F Zach Parise, mired in a 10-game goal drought, has 17 tallies and 40 points in 53 games versus Pittsburgh.
3. Penguins F Patric Hornqvist has scored five goals in the last seven games.
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Key Players to Watch
no tickets found.
- Lower BodyProb Jan 31 | probable
Schultz has been activated from the injured reserve list after healing from a lower-body injury, and he is expected to return to the lineup Jan. 31 against the Flyers.
- AbdominalEarly Feb | I-R
Bjugstad has landed on injured reserve after having core muscle surgery, and he is expected to be out of the lineup until at least the start of February.
- AnkleEarly Feb | I-R
Dumoulin has been designated for the injured reserve list and is expected to be out of action until at least the beginning of February after having surgery to repair lacerated tendons in his left ankle.
- ConcussionOut indefinitely | out
Kahun sustained a concussion, and it is unknown how long it will take him to pass protocol.
- Lower BodyProb Tues | probable
Simon exited the previous game with a lower-body injury, but it is not expected to impede his status against the Flyers on Tuesday.
- PersonalOut indefinitely | out
DeSmith has been unavailable due to a passport issue, and it is undetermined when he will be able to play again.
- HerniaProb Tues | probable
Crosby has been activated from the injured reserve after core muscle surgery. It is expected that he will return to action Tuesday versus the Wild.
- IllnessProb Wed | probable
Koivu sat out the last game with an illness, but it is likely the symptoms will dissipate in time for Wednesday's tilt versus the Red Wings.
- IllnessOut Wed | out
Hunt has been absent from the lineup during the previous three games due to an illness, and he will not return against the Red Wings on Wednesday.
- HerniaProb Sun | probable
Pateryn is on injured reserve while recovering from surgery to repair a bilateral core muscle. He suffered a setback in his recovery but has been activated to play. He will rejoin the lineup for Sunday's matchup against the Canucks.
- LegQues Sun | questionable
Zucker is recovering from surgery to repair a fractured right fibula, and it is unclear if he will return to face the Canucks on Sunday.
- PersonalOut indefinitely | I-R
Dubnyk has been granted a leave of absence while his wife is undergoing a medical procedure. He has been placed on injured reserve and is without a timetable for return.
pittsburgh-penguins Stats 2019-2020
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minnesota-wild Stats 2019-2020
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