Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby will return to action for Game 2 against the New York Islanders Friday night.
Crosby has been sidelined since suffering a broken jaw on March 30. Pittsburgh took a 5-0 win over New York in Game 1 of their first-round Eastern Conference playoff series Wednesday.
Oddsmakers have the Penguins priced as -240 home favorites versus the Islanders (+219) Friday and don’t expect a huge jump in the odds with Crosby back due to Pittsburgh's deep roster of offensive weapons.
“Not much of a change for tonight’s game. The Islanders are outmatched by the Pens even without Crosby,” Michael Stewart, an oddsmaker for CarbonSports.ag, told Covers.
Crosby had 56 points – 15 goals, 41 assists – in 36 games before taking a puck to the face against the Islanders at the end of March. Crosby has dominated New York during his career, posting 20 goals and 55 assists versus the Isle – his most collective points against any NHL team.
"(The doctor) was around and I wasn’t sure if he would give me the OK or even consider it,” Crosby told the media. “I’m happy that he did and happy to be back. ... He's comfortable with me getting hit at this point. That's the biggest thing. He has to be comfortable putting me out there. To hear him say that allows me to be comfortable, too."
Pittsburgh is likely to be without forward James Neal, who left Game 1 with an ankle injury, and possibly Jussi Jokinen, who was also hurt in the series opener.
The total is set at 5.5 goals for Game 2. The Penguins and Islanders have gone 2-3-1 over/under in their six meetings this season. Pittsburgh won five of those games.
In Montreal, Canadiens captain Brian Gionta and leading scorer Max Pacioretty are out for Game 2 against the Ottawa Senators, according to Cassie Campbell-Pascall of CBC.
Montreal is -127 in Game 2 and the total is 5. The Canadiens lost Game 1, 4-2.
Both injuries are being called "upper-body injuries."
Montreal will also be without forward Lars Eller who was seriously injured when hit by Ottawa's Eric Gryba.
Gionta had 26 points in 48 games. Pacioretty led the team with 39 points in 44 games this season.