Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Playing It Coy Sidney Crosby Rejoins Regular Linemates in Practice for First Time since Breaking Jaw, but Will He Face Islanders Tonight? No One Will Say. Stanley Cup Playoffs '13/East Qurterfinal Game 2: Penguins vs. Islanders

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Playing It Coy Sidney Crosby Rejoins Regular Linemates in Practice for First Time since Breaking Jaw, but Will He Face Islanders Tonight? No One Will Say. Stanley Cup Playoffs '13/East Qurterfinal Game 2: Penguins vs. Islanders

Article excerpt

For the Penguins, it was a tantalizing glimpse of what is to come.

There was Sidney Crosby, back between Chris Kunitz and Pascal Dupuis on what had been hockey's most lethal line.

Crosby, back to enhance a No. 1 power-play unit that already looked as if it could score almost at will. While blindfolded.

Crosby, back to looking like the guy whose skills set and commitment made him the dominant force in the NHL for the first three-quarters of the regular season.

But nothing he did in practice Thursday at Consol Energy Center necessarily means the Penguins expect to have him in their lineup when they face the New York Islanders in Game 2 of an opening-round playoff series at 7:08 p.m. today.

Although Crosby hadn't been formally ruled out of that game as of Thursday afternoon, neither had he been scheduled for the examination he'll need to pass before he gets medical clearance to resume playing.

"Nothing's changed," he said.

Even if Penguins coach Dan Bylsma doesn't add Crosby to his personnel mix tonight, he might have to make at least one change for Game 2 because winger James Neal seems like a long shot to play. Neal had an apparent ankle injury early in the second period of Game 1 and was the only player who did not take part in the Thursday workout.

Bylsma declined to discuss Neal's injury, or those of any other player, but plugged rookie Beau Bennett into Neal's spot alongside Evgeni Malkin and Jarome Iginla during the workout and likely will use him there if Neal is scratched.

There also was concern that the Penguins might have lost Jussi Jokinen after a hit by Islanders forward Marty Reasoner late in Game 1 -- Reasoner was assessed a major penalty for kneeing and a game misconduct -- but Jokinen was able to practice Thursday.

"Those are dangerous hits, and you can get hurt bad, but it's part of the game," Jokinen said. "I'm lucky that I'm OK."

If Crosby and Neal spend tonight in street clothes, Bylsma presumably will have one of the three healthy scratches from Game 1 - - Tyler Kennedy, Joe Vitale and Dustin Jeffrey -- take Neal's place in the lineup.

Defenseman Brooks Orpik, who missed the past three games because of an undisclosed injury, practiced with no apparent problem Thursday, but said he is under orders not to discuss anything related to his injury, including when he might return. …

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