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As Pens fans remember, this is not the first time their star player has been out of the lineup for an extended amount of time.
In 2008, when Crosby was out of the lineup with a high ankle sprain, the Pens went 16-8-4. Outstanding play from backup netminder Ty Conklin (who was in net while Marc-Andre Fleury also dealt with an injury) and contributions from Evgeni Malkin (see slide No. 3) helped the Pens secure a playoff berth and remain a threat to opponents.
Then, last season, Crosby's last game was on Jan. 5 against the Tampa Bay Lightning. After that, starting with their Jan. 6 game against the Montreal Canadiens, the Pens went 23-13-5 the rest of the way. Their final record was 49-25-8 for 106 points and fourth in the Eastern Conference.
So far, the Pens are 2-0-1 without Crosby and are sitting in first place in the conference.
While it's still early in the season and we shouldn't plan the Stanley Cup parade yet, the Penguins have shown that they have the talent, work ethic and desire to rise above not having their captain. An obstacle that may cause other teams to stumble has helped the Pens keep a top spot in the standings.
And really, in April, all that's going to matter is whether they are No. 1 through No. 8.