(UPDATED 11:45 A.M.)
Penguins captain Sidney Crosby has confirmed that he will return to lineup tonight. Crosby will be playing in his first game since breaking his jaw against the New York Islanders on March 30th.
Crosby is slated to center Chris Kunitz and Pascal Dupuis tonight on the top line.
“I’m cleared to play tonight,” Crosby said following the morning skate. “I’m excited to get back in there and play in the playoffs. I wasn’t sure if he {Doctor} would give me the ok or even consider it. I’m happy that he did and happy to be back.”
Crosby said his doctor is comfortable with him taking a hit. “He’s comfortable with me getting hit at this point,” Crosby said. “That’s the biggest thing.”
For an Islanders team coming off a 5-0 Game 1 loss, they already had a daunting task against a superior Penguins team and the Islanders task gets tougher with Sidney Crosby’s return tonight.
“I’ve always said when you have a elite player like Sidney Crosby, he’s going to get his chances,” Islanders coach Jack Capuano said. “We just have to make sure to limit his opportunities.”
Crosby’s teammates, as expected, are excited about Crosby’s return tonight. “Maybe smile won’t be as pretty as before but he’ll be smiling,” Dupuis said of Crosby.
“It’s exciting,” Kris Letang said. “We welcome the best player in the world {back} anytime,” Letang said.
Linemate Pascal Dupuis has no concerns about Crosby being rusty tonght. “He’s cleared to play by doctors, felt ready last week, his game is ready,” Dupuis said. “He’s definitely best player in the game coming back to our lineup. We’ll see tonight what he can do.”
While Crosby has as much familiarity you can get with Dupuis and Kunitz, tonight will mark the first time that the Penguins power play has Crosby and Jarome Iginla working together on it.
“We practiced {today} to try to get use to each other, find each other tendencies,” Letang said of the Penguins top power play unit that will include Crosby stationed down low with Chris Kunitz in front of the net, Evgeni Malkin at the half wall and Iginla and Letang at the points.
Penguins head coach Dan Bylsma has got to the point where he won’t discuss any aspects of his lineup and despite Sidney Crosby confirming that he’s playing tonight, Bylsma still wouldn’t talk about Crosby returning to lineup tonight as he’s developed some John Tortorella tactics when discussing his lineup.
“When Sid gets back on ice, going to be looking forward to getting him back with this group when it happens,” Bylsma said.

Bylsma also not provide injury updates on James Neal and Brooks Orpik, but both players won’t be in the lineup tonight.
For the Islanders there is expected to be changes on the top-three lines, with Michael Grabner expected to see some top line minutes.
Chris Kunitz – Sidney Crosby – Pascal Dupuis
Beau Bennett – Evgeni Malkin – Jarome Iginla
Brenden Morrow – Brandon Sutter – Matt Cooke
Tanner Glass – Jussi Jokinen – Craig Adams
Paul Martin – Deryk Engelland
Mark Eaton – Kris Letang
Douglas Murray – Matt Niskanen
Marc Andre Fleury in Goal