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Watch out, Devils: Crosby usually excels in returns from injury

Crosby, after recovering from offseason wrist surgery, is listed as a game-time decision for Saturday.

NHL: Stanley Cup Playoffs-New York Islanders at Pittsburgh Penguins
Sidney Crosby takes the ice against the New York Islanders in Game 1 of the 2021 first round on May 16.
Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

On Friday, Oct. 29, the Penguins announced that Sidney Crosby would be a game-time decision for a Saturday Halloween weekend clash with the visiting New Jersey Devils.

Crosby, who has been recovering from offseason wrist surgery, has yet to play in the 2021-22 campaign. As is the unfortunate case with Evgeni Malkin, a plethora of previous injury data throughout Crosby’s career is available for analysis. What does history tell us about how the captain usually performs when returning from major absences?

In seven games that marked returns from major injuries, Crosby has racked up 15 points (6-9—15). He has yet to be held off the scoreboard in a return from significant absence, and the Penguins boast a 5-2-0 record in these games. Here’s a look back at the seven biggest comebacks of Crosby’s career so far.

1. Return from sprained ankle (Jan. 18, 2008): 2-0 win over the Lightning in Tampa Bay (March 4, 2008)

Crosby sets up Maxime Talbot’s game-winner with less than three minutes left in a scoreless third period.

2. Return from season-ending concussion (Jan. 11, 2011): 5-0 shutout of the visiting Islanders (Nov. 21, 2011)

Crosby opens scoring on an assist from Pascal Dupuis on his way to racking up four points (2-2—4).

3. Return from neck injury (Dec. 5, 2011): 5-2 win over the host Rangers (March 15, 2012)

Crosby sets up goals by Chris Kunitz and Pascal Dupuis in the third period to polish off scoring.

4. Return from fractured jaw (March 30, 2013): 4-3 Round 1, Game 2 loss to the visiting Islanders (May 3, 2013)

Crosby scores twice in the first period to earn the Penguins an early two-goal lead.

5. Late start after pre-season concussion (Oct. 16, 2016): 3-2 win over the visiting Panthers (Oct. 25, 2016)

Crosby opens Pittsburgh’s scoring with a power-play goal set up by Evgeni Malkin and Phil Kessel, sparking the Penguins’ recovery from a two-goal deficit to Florida (thanks in part to an opening assist from then-Panther Mike Matheson).

6. Return from postseason concussion (May 1, 2017): 4-2 Round 2, Game 5 loss to the host Capitals (May 6, 2017)

Crosby registers an assist on Phil Kessel’s power-play goal to give the Penguins a second-period lead after missing Game 4 of the series.

7. Return from core muscle surgery (Nov. 14, 2019): 7-3 win over the visiting Wild (Jan. 14, 2020)

Crosby sets up game-winner and scores an insurance goal en route to a four-point (1-3—4) performance.

Will Crosby continue his hot return streak if he skates against the Devils this Saturday?