PITTSBURGH — Sidney Crosby watched the Pittsburgh Penguins thrive in his absence. The longtime captain pledged he would simply focus on doing his part to keep the Penguins rolling in his return from a two-month layoff.

Crosby held up his end of the bargain, collecting a goal and three assists in his first game back from abdominal surgery as the Penguins rolled past Minnesota 7-3 on Tuesday night.

Crosby needed less than eight minutes to pick up his first point since before Halloween when he assisted on Evgeni Malkin’s first goal of the night 7:57 into the game. Crosby added his sixth goal of the season in the third period when he slipped a backhand past Devan Dubnyk as the Penguins rolled to their fourth straight victory.

Malkin finished with two goals and a pretty no-look drop pass to set up Bryan Rust’s 19th of the season. Jared McCann scored for the fourth time in five games for Pittsburgh, Dominik Simon added his fifth and Tristan Jarry stopped 25 shots to improve to 11-0-1 in his last 12 starts against Western Conference opponents.

ISLANDERS 8 RED WINGS 2: Brock Nelson scored twice and New York routed visiting Detroit.

New York scored three times in the first eight minutes, a rousing response after a lopsided road loss to the crosstown Rangers a night earlier. The league-worst Red Wings were out of it early, and Thomas Greiss made 34 saves to back the Islanders.

Jordan Eberle, Josh Bailey and Nelson chased Detroit goalie Jimmy Howard with their three quick goals early. Calvin Pickard relieved and stopped 14 of 19 shots.

SABRES 4, GOLDEN KNIGHTS 2: Jack Eichel scored the go-ahead goal on an end-to-end rush 7:57 into the third period as host Buffalo topped slumping Vegas.

The goal was Eichel’s career-high-matching 28th of the season and came in a game in which he added an assist to become Buffalo’s first player in 27 years to reach the 60-point mark in 46 or fewer games. Sam Reinhart had a goal and two assists, and Kyle Okposo and Curtis Lazar, with an empty-netter, also scored.

Linus Ullmark stopped 23 shots, and the Sabres improved to 4-2 in their past six.

Reilly Smith and Tomas Nosek scored for the Golden Knights, who have lost four straight to match their longest streak without a point in their three-year franchise history. Vegas lost four in a row during an 0-4-1 skid from Nov. 7-16.

MAPLE LEAFS 7, DEVILS 4: Auston Matthews had his first hat trick since scoring four times in his NHL debut and Toronto won at home.

John Tavares scored as part of a three-point night for the Leafs and Rasmus Sandin had two assists in his first game since getting called up from the minors to help reinforce the injury-riddled defense corps. William Nylander and Zach Hyman each had a goal and an assist, and Frederik Gauthier had the other goal for Toronto.

Frederik Andersen made 24 saves for the Leafs after getting pulled in two of the past three outings.

Blake Coleman, with his first-career hat trick, and P.K. Subban scored for New Jersey.

LIGHTNING 4, KINGS 3: Nikita Kucherov scored late to force overtime and Steven Stamkos delivered the deciding goal in a shootout as Tampa Bay won at home.

Brayden Point also beat Kings goalie Jonathan Quick in the shootout, helping the Lightning rebound from a 2-1 loss to New Jersey that stopped Tampa Bay’s franchise record-tying 10-game winning streak on Sunday.

NOTES

CAPITALS: The Capitals signed center Nicklas Backstrom for the long term, agreeing to a $46 million, five-year contract extension.

Backstrom is the Capitals’ franchise leader in assists and has been an organizational cornerstone for more than a decade.

SABRES: Center Tage Thompson will miss the remainder of the season after having surgery to repair an injury to his right shoulder.

The Sabres announced Thompson had the operation on Tuesday and will require between five and six months of recovery time. Thompson was initially projected to miss three to five weeks before team doctors determined he required surgery.

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