Crosby Show returns from hiatus

November, 21, 2011
11/21/11
11:18
AM ET
Sidney Crosby will make his NHL return tonight, for his first game since a hit by Tampa Bay’s Victor Hedman ended his 2010-11 season on January 5.

Sidney Crosby
Crosby
The Penguins host the Islanders, a team Crosby has dominated throughout his career. He has 62 career points against the Islanders, tied with the Flyers for his most versus any team, and his 1.88 points per game against New York is the most among active players.

Prior to the concussion, Crosby was enjoying one of his best campaigns, leading the league with 32 goals and 66 points in 41 games. The only player ever to accumulate more points while playing 41 or fewer games in a season was Bill Cowley, who had 71 with the Bruins in 1943-44.

Crosby was on pace for 132 points, which would have been the most in the NHL since both Mario Lemieux and Jaromir Jagr reached that mark for the Pittsburgh Penguins in 1995-96.

Predictably, the Penguins offense took a nose dive with Crosby out of the lineup, ranking 25th in the NHL in goals per game and dead last in power-play percentage. Pittsburgh also missed his faceoff skills, as he led the NHL in faceoffs won prior to his injury, and the Pens were 26th in faceoff win percentage afterward. All of those struggles led to Pittsburgh’s elimination by the Tampa Bay Lightning in the Conference Quarterfinals, including a 1-0 loss in Game 7.

Since coming into the NHL in 2005-06, Crosby has been one of the best players in the league, trailing only Alex Ovechkin and Joe Thornton in points, despite missing nearly one-fifth of his possible games.

More impressively, Sid the Kid also ranks among the all-time greats on a points per game basis. Only Hall-of-Famers Wayne Gretzky, Mario Lemieux, Mike Bossy and Bobby Orr averaged more points per game than Crosby has thus far.

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