Pittsburgh Penguins star Sidney Crosby will make his much-anticipated return to the ice Saturday against the New Jersey Devils. The two-time Hart Trophy winner missed the Penguins' first seven games while recovering from offseason wrist surgery.
The return of Crosby comes at the exact right time for Pittsburgh, which began the season 3-0-2 before dropping its last two by a combined eight goals. By returning Saturday, Crosby -- who underwent his second left wrist surgery in 13 months on Sept. 8 -- will have missed seven weeks of action after his initial recovery timeline was "at least" six weeks.
Crosby isn't Pittsburgh's only mid-season reinforcement. Fellow center Jeff Carter is also expected to return against the Devils after a week-long stay on the COVID-19 list. The 36-year-old Carter was asymptomatic.
"I think it goes without saying, they offer us so much on both sides of the puck," Pittsburgh coach Mike Sullivan said. "We're just a much better hockey team when they're in our lineup. So we're excited to have them back in the lineup."
Pittsburgh improves two lines with Crosby and Carter back in the fold, as the former will return to the first line while the latter will bump back down to the second. Their return will also help cover the depth issues caused by Bryan Rust landing on injured reserve after two games and Evgeni Malkin missing at least the first two months of the season while recovering from June knee surgery.
"It has a ripple effect on our whole team," Sullivan said. "Both these guys are real good players. It's nice to get some of these guys starting to come back into our lineup."
Crosby's return is set for 7 p.m. ET at PPG Paints Arena.