He’s back: Sidney Crosby will return on Thursday against Rangers

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Time to fire up the hype machine: “The Kid” is going to play.

The Penguins announced after practice this afternoon that Sidney Crosby will rejoin the Pittsburgh lineup Thursday night against the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden (7:00 p.m. ET on NBCSN). Crosby has been out since December 5 after suffering another concussion against the Bruins.

Crosby’s first comeback this season saw him play in just eight games before being knocked out of action, but in that time he scored two goals and added 10 assists including a dazzling display against the Islanders in his first game back notching two goals and two assists.

Crosby’s return to the Penguins lineup obviously means big things for Pittsburgh as they’ll have a healthy trio of Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, and Jordan Staal to work with, a rarity over the past two seasons. Now it’ll be up to coach Dan Bylsma to figure out how to set his lines with the league’s top talent returning to action. There’s tougher jobs out there I suppose.

Update (1:02 p.m.):  Josh Yohe of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reports that Bylsma will start Crosby off on a line with Tyler Kennedy and Matt Cooke. Nothing beats a challenge.

With the Penguins in the middle of a nine-game win streak, having Crosby rejoin them for a game on Broadway against the Eastern Conference’s No. 1 team certainly sets quite the stage for Thursday night.