Minutes before 5 p.m. on Thursday, two hours before the puck dropped between the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Philadelphia Flyers, Penguins captain Sidney Crosby was cleared from the NHL COVID protocol and activated for the game.
Penguins assistant coach Todd Reirden was also cleared and can return to the bench.
Crosby, 33, is tied for the team lead in goals (7), assists (11), and points (18) in 20 games. The Penguins captain has more points against Philadelphia (107 points in 72 games) than any active player in the NHL.
The Penguins also recalled forwards Anthony Angello and Josh Currie from the taxi squad. However, that is a paper move because both played against Philadelphia on Tuesday night and were only assigned to the taxi-squad for a day.
Penguins Skills coach Ty Hennes filled in for Reirden on the bench on Tuesday night. Reirden handles the defensemen and the Penguins’ power play. The power play did notch one power-play goal in three chances during their 5-2 win at PPG Paints Arena on Tuesday.
Evgeni Malkin centered the Penguins’ top line with Jake Guentzel and Bryan Rust, as he did last season during his resurgent campaign. The line connected for a highlight goal midway through the second period.
The Penguins will again welcome 2800 fans into PPG Paints Arena on Thursday. Tuesday marked the first time since March 8, 2020, that the Penguins were permitted to entertain fans in the building.
Sidney Crosby was added to the NHL COVID protocol on Tuesday, as was Reirden. Their short stay on the list reasonably means neither tested positive but had a contact tracing incident or false positives. The NHL does not release specific details of entering protocol.
Check out the Pittsburgh Hockey Now game preview and analysis of the interstate clash. The Pittsburgh Penguins and Philadelphia Flyers are tied at 25 points in the East Division, though the Flyers have two games in-hand.