The Pittsburgh Penguins were 10-6-1 after winning the last game Sidney Crosby played this season, back in the early part of November. When the captain went down to core muscle surgery he had been putting off since training camp, many wondered how the team—with several other key players already on the sideline—would stay in the playoff race.
Not only did the Penguins stay in the race, but they ended up going 18-6-4 without Crosby and now are about to get their captain back while sitting firmly in a playoff position. Crosby will make his return to the lineup against the Minnesota Wild and try to continue his point-per-game pace. If he does, it would be the 15th consecutive season that Crosby reaches that milestone.
- Nico Hischier may not get the kind of press that other first-overall draft picks do, but he is still having a strong start to his career. After scoring 52 and 47 points in each of his first two seasons, Hischier is on pace for a new career-high this year. That play has been rewarded, as the 21-year old center will replace Kyle Palmieri at the upcoming All-Star game as the representative from the New Jersey Devils. Palmieri will miss the game with a foot injury.
- With Rasmus Sandin taking over for Morgan Rielly in the Toronto Maple Leafs lineup tonight, the young defenseman will get another game closer to burning the first year of his entry-level deal. Sandin will play in his seventh NHL contest tonight; when he plays in ten his deal will kick in and have him on track to become a restricted free agent in 2022.