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.
- PersonalOut indefinitely | out
DeSmith has been unavailable due to a passport issue, and it is undetermined when he will be able to play again.
- Lower BodyLate Jan | I-R
Schultz has been shifted to the injured reserve list with a lower-body injury, and he is likely to be out until at least the end of January.
- AbdominalLate Jan | I-R
Bjugstad has landed on injured reserve after having core muscle surgery, and he is expected to miss at least eight weeks.
- 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.
- ShoulderEarly June | I-R
Guentzel has been placed on the injured reserve list after shoulder surgery and is expected to be sidelined four to six months.
- IllnessProb Tues | probable
Lafferty has sat out the past two games due to illness, but he is expected to face the Golden Knights on Tuesday.
- IllnessQues Mon | questionable
Hunt has been absent from the lineup during the previous two games due to an illness, and it is unknown if he will face the Panthers on Monday.
- IllnessQues Mon | questionable
Koivu is battling an illness, and it is unclear if he will be available to play Monday against the Panthers.
- 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.
- UndisclosedProb Thurs | probable
Suter is battling an unspecified ailment but is likely to suit up against the Flames on Thursday.
- NoseProb Thurs | probable
Hunt is on the mend from a sinus procedure and is expected to suit up for Thursday's matchup versus the Flames.
pittsburgh-penguins Stats 2019-2020
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minnesota-wild Stats 2019-2020
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