PITTSBURGH (AP) — Sidney Crosby scored in his season debut as the Pittsburgh Penguins rallied to beat the Florida Panthers 3-2 on Tuesday night.
Crosby, who scored on a power play, missed the team's first six games with a concussion. Carl Hagelin and Eric Fehr also scored for the Penguins, who extended a seven-game unbeaten streak against the Panthers.
Marc-Andre Fleury, who has started the first seven games of the season for Pittsburgh, stopped 20 shots. Matt Murray, who backstopped the Penguins to a Stanley Cup in June, served as the backup to Fleury after missing the first six games with a broken hand.
Reilly Smith scored a power-play goal and Mark Pysyk also scored for the Panthers, who have lost 11 of 12 against the Penguins in Pittsburgh.
James Reimer made 19 saves in his second start of the season.
Crosby cut the Panthers' lead to 2-1 in the second period. Crosby had to reach for a pass from Evgeni Malkin, but recovered to whip a shot from the slot over Reimer's shoulder.
Hagelin tied it in the third when he sent a shot underneath Reimer's arm during a 2-on-1.
Fehr put the Penguins in front for good when he one-timed a pass from Tom Kuhnhackl between Reimer's legs.
Crosby, the two-time MVP and reigning Conn Smythe Trophy winner, hasn't played since sustaining a concussion in practice earlier this month. Crosby participated in a full-contact practice Monday for the first time since suffering his third concussion in six years. He called his participation in practice a major milestone in his recovery.
Crosby described himself Tuesday morning as a game-time decision, but coach Mike Sullivan said the Penguins' captain would likely make his season debut barring a setback after participating in the game-day skate.
Crosby, who captained Team Canada to a World Cup of Hockey championship last month, missed the better part of two seasons after sustaining a concussion in January 2011. He stressed he didn't panic when doctors told him of the latest diagnosis. The Penguins, meanwhile, went 3-2-1 with Crosby out of the lineup.
Panthers F Jaromir Jagr returned to Pittsburgh where he won two Stanley Cups and five scoring titles, totaling 1,079 points in 806 games from 1990-01.
The Penguins honored Jagr, the No. 5 pick in the 1990 NHL draft, during Tuesday's morning skate with a commemorative plaque made out of material from the Civic Arena roof. The 44-year-old Jagr, who is in his 23rd NHL season, ranks third all-time in NHL history in goals and points.
NOTES: Jagr played his 1,635th career game, tying Scott Stevens for seventh all-time. . Penguins D Kris Letang skated Tuesday with a no-contact jersey, but missed his third game with an upper-body injury. . Penguins F Conor Sheary is not cleared to play and will be re-evaluated in a week. . The Panthers played without Jonathan Huberdeau (lower body), Nick Bjugstad (upper body) and Jussi Jokinen (lower body). . Penguins D Brian Dumoulin played in his 100th NHL game.
Panthers: Continue a four-game road trip at Toronto on Thursday
Penguins: Host the New York Islanders on Thursday.
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