Sidney Crosby showed no signs of rust for the Pittsburgh Penguins against the Minnesota Wild on Tuesday.
After the center missed 28 games because of a core muscle injury that required surgery, he returned and had four points (one goal, three assists) in a 7-3 victory at PPG Paints Arena.
It's the fourth time since entering the NHL in 2005 that Crosby has come back to earn points after missing at least 20 games.
On March 4, 2008, Crosby returned after missing 21 games and assisted on the winning goal by Max Talbot in a 2-0 victory at the Tampa Bay Lightning. That win sparked a 9-4-1 season-ending streak and the Penguins reached the Stanley Cup Final before losing to the Detroit Red Wings in six games.
Crosby missed 61 regular-season games during a span of two seasons before he had four points (two goals, two assists) in a 5-0 win against the New York Islanders in Pittsburgh on Nov. 21, 2011.
A 40-game absence ended March 15, 2012, when Crosby had two assists in a 5-2 win against the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden. It was Pittsburgh's 10th consecutive victory.
Maple Leafs, Islanders light up scoreboard
The Penguins weren't the only team that scored often Tuesday.
The Toronto Maple Leafs defeated the New Jersey Devils 7-4 at Scotiabank Arena in a game that had a player from each team score three goals. Blake Coleman had a hat trick for the Devils and Auston Matthews completed one for the Maple Leafs when he scored into an empty net with 1:20 remaining. It's the first game involving Toronto to have dueling hat tricks since April 11, 2006, when Maple Leafs center Mats Sundin scored four goals and Florida Panthers center Joe Nieuwendyk scored three.
The three goals give Matthews 34 this season. He's second in the NHL behind Boston Bruins forward David Pastrnak (36).
The Islanders got multipoint performances from seven players in an 8-2 victory against the Red Wings at Nassau Coliseum. It was the first time the Islanders have scored eight goals in a game since an 8-1 win against the Edmonton Oilers on Feb. 7, 2016, and the first time they've done it against Detroit since winning 8-2 on Jan. 11, 1986.
Eichel streaking again for Sabres
Jack Eichel extended his point streak to eight games (10 points; four goals, six assists) with a goal and an assist for the Buffalo Sabres in a 4-2 win against the Vegas Golden Knights at KeyBank Center. Eichel is tied with Maple Leafs forward Mitchell Marner for the longest active streak in the NHL. Buffalo's captain had a 17-game streak that ended when he missed the game against the Philadelphia Flyers on Dec. 19 because of an upper-body injury.
Eichel has 61 points (28 goals, 33 assists) in 46 games. He's the first Sabres player to reach the 60-point mark in 46 games or fewer since 1992-93, when Alexander Mogilny (33 games) and Pat LaFontaine (34 games) did it.
Kubalik producing for Blackhawks
Rookie Dominik Kubalik scored twice for the second straight game and extended his goal streak to five games to help the Chicago Blackhawks rally for a 3-2 overtime victory against the Ottawa Senators at Canadian Tire Centre. The native of Plzen, Czech Republic, is the 17th different NHL rookie born outside North America to have a goal streak of at least five games. Teemu Selanne (Helsinki, Finland) holds the record with nine, set during his 76-goal rookie season in 1992-93.
Kubalik has scored seven goals during the streak and leads NHL rookies with 10 points (seven goals, three assists) since Jan. 1. New York Rangers defenseman Adam Fox is second with seven (one goal, six assists).
Blues go for 10 straight at home
The NHL-leading St. Louis Blues (30-10-7) will try for their team-record 10th consecutive home win when they play the Flyers at Enterprise Center on Wednesday (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, TVAS).
St. Louis defeated the Anaheim Ducks 4-1 on Monday for their ninth straight home win, matching its previous mark set from Jan. 26-Feb. 26, 1991. The Blues can sweep a five-game homestand for the first time since entering the NHL in 1967.