Sidney Crosby Notches Assist, Kris Letang Plays Nearly 20 Minutes As Penguins Win 10th Straight

Sidney Crosby and Kris Letang were both factors in Pittsburgh's 10th straight win, a 5-2 decision over the New York Rangers. Get more on the Crosby concussion saga in our comprehensive StoryStream.

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Penguins Vs. Rangers: Sidney Crosby Notches Assist In 10th Straight Pittsburgh Win

Sidney Crosby notched an assist on Chris Kunitz's third period goal and Kris Letang put in 19:06 worth of work as the Pittsburgh Penguins won their 10th straight game — this one a huge victory over the New York Rangers. The 5-2 win moves Pittsburgh within four points -- with one game in hand, too -- of the Rangers for first place in the Atlantic Division and the Eastern Conference.

Crosby and Letang were big parts of the win, but it was a full team effort for Pittsburgh. Matt Cooke scored two goals and Evgeni Malkin notched a goal and an assist in carrying the Pens to victory. Marc-Andre Fleury made 29 saves and turned the calendar on a full month without a loss. His last defeat came on Feb. 15.

Here's a look at Crosby's helper, via NHL.com:

The Penguins are back in action Saturday against the New Jersey Devils. New York hosts the Colorado Avalanche on Saturday evening.

For more on the Pens, check in with SB Nation Pittsburgh and Pensburgh. For more on the Rangers, check in with Blueshirt Banter and SB Nation New York.

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Penguins Vs. Rangers: Game Time, TV Coverage And More For Sidney Crosby's Return

Sidney Crosby makes his return to the Pittsburgh Penguins lineup on Thursday. We've known this for days now, and while the excitement doesn't quite seem as though its at the same level as his last return, there's no doubt that this game is more important in the standings. The Pens are at Madison Square Garden to play the New York Rangers, and a Pittsburgh win could make the Atlantic Division race considerably more interesting.

So, Crosby's back. It's a huge stage, perhaps the biggest in the sporting world, at MSG. It's a gigantic game in terms of the Eastern Conference playoff picture.

And just because this game hasn't been hyped enough, Pittsburgh's best defenseman will return too. Kris Letang has been sidelined since late February with concussion symptoms of his own, and while neither he or Crosby will play their full complement of minutes, it's still great for the hottest team in hockey that they have a healthy lineup heading down the stretch. It makes Thursday's game even that much more interesting, too.

How does all of this make the New York Rangers feel, by the way? Via the Bergen (N.J.) Record, here's head coach John Tortorella:

"I don't look at it as a new pressure because we've put pressure on ourselves no matter who we're playing. We don't spend too much time looking what's going on in the standings, we really don't. It's something we addressed early on this year and I think our guys have a maturity about how we go about it here, and that's just worrying about ourselves and worrying about today."

To paraphrase, Torts really doesn't care about the Pittsburgh Penguins. The Rangers will be without Henrik Lundqvist yet again on Thursday night as he misses his second game with the flu. Martin Biron will start in his place. Marc-Andre Fleury, as usual, will go for Pittsburgh.

7 p.m., ET -- Madison Square Garden, New York, N.Y.
National TV: NBC Sports Network, TSN
Local TV: MSG in New York, ROOT Sports in Pittsburgh

For more on the Rangers, check in with Blueshirt Banter and SB Nation New York. For more on the Penguins, check in with Pensburgh and SB Nation Pittsburgh.

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Kris Letang To Return For Pittsburgh Penguins Thursday Vs. Rangers

Kris Letang will return to the Pittsburgh Penguins lineup on Thursday night at Madison Square Garden, and officially, the team is fully loaded as they attempt to pull within four points of the first-place New York Rangers in the Atlantic Division. The team announced Letang's return Thursday morning.

Letang, the Penguins' best defenseman, has been out of the lineup since Feb. 27 after suffering a hit from Dallas Stars winger Eric Nystrom. He was diagnosed with concussion-like symptoms following the hit, and it was the second time he missed action with a head injury this season.

Of course, Thursday also serves as the return for captain Sidney Crosby, who's been out since early December with concussion problems of his own. Crosby has only played a handful of games in the last calendar year-plus, all as part of a failed November comeback attempt from his injury.

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Sidney Crosby Status: Penguins Star Will Return To Lineup Thursday

Sidney Crosby will make yet another return from concussion on Thursday night when the Pittsburgh Penguins visit their division rival New York Rangers. The team announced the news Tuesday morning. It'll be the second time this season the NHL's golden boy has returned to action following concussion problems, and the hope is that it'll be his last triumphant return to action.

After failing to play for 10 months due to his injury, Crosby played his first game of 2011-12 back on Nov. 21 against the New York Islanders. He scored four points in the process, but after a hit in a game vs. Boston on Dec. 5, Crosby was pulled from the lineup yet again. He's been making a slow recovery since and hopefully won't suffer another setback this time around.

With Crosby back in the lineup, the Penguins have to be considered the favorites in the Eastern Conference. They've been red-hot of late as winners of nine straight games, and inserting the best player in the world back into the lineup should do nothing to hurt that. It's perfect timing, too, as the Rangers sit just four points up on Pittsburgh for the top spot in both the Atlantic Division and the Eastern Conference.

For more on Sidney Crosby's concussion recovery, stick with our StoryStream. For more on the Penguins, check in with SB Nation Pittsburgh and Pens blog Pensburgh.

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