PITTSBURGH -- Penguins captain Sidney Crosby must have a different definition of rust than most normal people.
After missing more than a month with a broken jaw, Crosby jumped into the middle of a playoff series and scored twice in the first 7:22 of Game 2 of the Penguins’ Eastern Conference quarterfinals series with the New York Islanders.
Crosby scored on the power play and then 5-on-5 as the Penguins built an early 3-1 lead, only to see the Islanders storm back and shock the Penguins with three unanswered goals to tie the series at one game apiece with a 4-3 victory.
Crosby could hardly be faulted, though, as he played 23:21 on the night, had eight shots on net and won 14 of 26 faceoffs.
"I thought he didn’t miss a beat," Penguins coach Dan Bylsma said. "He skated well. He was on the puck. He was very good getting back in there after missing 13 games."
Still, Crosby suggested he wasn’t in peak form.
"Definitely a little bit of rust, but there’s not a lot of time. So, you’ve got to find a way to create things out there and be better," he said.
New York Islander netminder Evgeni Nabokov came up with a couple of huge saves on Crosby during a four-minute Pittsburgh power play but said he never knew where Crosby was going to be, he is so deceptive.
"Good players find the good spots," Nabokov said. "He’s changing his game; he’s around the net everywhere. One time he could be around the far post, then he will all of a sudden be right in the slot."
When facing a team as talented and deep as the Penguins, Nabokov said it’s best to try not to worry too much about which player is where and just keep your eye on the puck.
"If I’m going to worry about that much skill up front, then my head is going to go nuts. I just try to follow the puck and react where the puck is going. I know that [Crosby’s] there, but when you have Chris Kunitz or Evgeni Malkin somewhere else, you can’t just think about Crosby. Obviously, with that much skill, I just concentrate on the puck," he said.