The Pittsburgh Penguins were destined to suffer a first regulation defeat of the 2021-22 NHL season eventually. Such a loss came Tuesday when the Tampa Bay Lightning rode into town and thrashed the Pens 5-1 as Pittsburgh superstar Sidney Crosby remained sidelined due to the wrist surgery he underwent on Sept. 8.
Penguins coach Mike Sullivan said Monday that Crosby was "a whole lot closer" to making his season debut, and Matt Vensel of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports Crosby skated on the top line during practice on Wednesday afternoon. Crosby was also spotted on the team’s top power play unit.
#Pens lines:— Wes Crosby (@OtherNHLCrosby) October 27, 2021
#Pens PP1: Crosby, Guentzel, Rodrigues, Zucker, Marino.— Wes Crosby (@OtherNHLCrosby) October 27, 2021
Crosby's status for Thursday's home game against the Calgary Flames remains up in the air. If the captain doesn't participate in that contest, his next chance to play will be Saturday night against the New Jersey Devils.
For what it's worth, Penguins team reporter Michelle Crechiolo noted Crosby largely looked like his old self on the ice coming off Tuesday's result:
When asked about 87 the other day, Kasperi Kapanen said with a laugh, “I mean, it’s Sidney Crosby. He’s always going to be the best player out there." The captain looks phenomenal again today. He just did a backhand spin-o-rama that ended with one of his patented backhands.— Pens Inside Scoop (@PensInsideScoop) October 27, 2021
The Pens have gone 3-1-2 without Crosby since Oct. 12.