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Crosby returns for big matchup against Rangers

NHL.com @NHLdotcom

NEW YORK (AP) - Sidney Crosby is back in the Pittsburgh Penguins' lineup, and right in the middle of the Eastern Conference playoff race, after sitting out for three months with concussion symptoms.

Crosby skated with his Penguins teammates Thursday morning, about seven hours before Pittsburgh takes on the New York Rangers - the team that sits atop the East and the Atlantic Division. The Penguins captain has been out since Dec. 5, missing 40 games with a recurrence of the symptoms that forced him to sit out from January 2011 until his return Nov. 21.

The 24-year-old center played in only eight games before being sidelined again.

Crosby is expected to play on the third line with wingers Matt Cooke and Tyler Kennedy, and his ice time will be limited to about 15 minutes.

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