Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby returns to the site of his last road game, but this time the New York Islanders are a playoff team surrounded by fans who haven't seen a postseason game in person in six years.
After the overwhelmingly positive reaction Crosby received when he returned to action in front of the home folks of Pittsburgh in Game 2 on Friday, you can expect an equally loud show of non-support in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals on Sunday (noon, NBC, RDS, TSN)."That's the playoffs," Crosby said Saturday after practice at Nassau Coliseum. "I think you expect emotion, you expect the opposing team to feed off the crowd, and I don't think that's any different anywhere. They'll be excited and it'll be up to us to make sure to control that.
"Kind of everything gets magnified a little bit when you're on the road -- every hit feels like a big one and every chance seems like a big one. So you have to be able to block all that out and just play the game."
Crosby said he came through his first action in nearly five weeks healthy. He scored two first-period goals to help the Penguins take a 3-1 lead, but the Islanders rallied to win 4-3 and even the best-of-7 series.
"I felt pretty good," Crosby told the Penguins website. "I think as the game went on I probably felt a little rusty and probably wore down a bit toward the end, but that happens when you play your first game in over a month, so hopefully it gets a little bit easier as far as timing and things like that."
Before Friday, Crosby hadn't played since March 30, when a deflected shot in the first period of a home game against the Islanders broke his jaw. His most recent road game was March 22 on Long Island.
He and his teammates know the Islanders and their fans will be jacked up -- the Islanders are looking for their first Stanley Cup Playoff win at the Coliseum since 2002, and they haven't played a home playoff game in 2007.
"We want to make sure that we bounce back, we didn't play the game we wanted to, and I think we all realize we have better," Crosby said. "I think it's just a matter of making sure we're better."