PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – The CONSOL Energy Center was getting all dressed up Wednesday morning, while preparing to host its first-ever playoff game.

At 7:30 a.m., a few students anxiously lined up for student rush tickets. They were also hoping for a surprise tonight.

“First playoff game, it’s a big game. Maybe [Sidney] Crosby comes back. I’m hoping,” Patrick Tordella said.

After two serious hits in January, Crosby has not returned to the lineup. He has been practicing with the teammates, but has not been cleared for contact.

He’s not expected to play tonight as the Penguins and Lightning begin their best-of-seven Eastern Conference Quarterfinal series.

Some fans said that will make a win all the more challenging, but they have faith in the Pens.

“I think it’s [going to] be tough. We [have] to stomp down their big three: [Steven] Stamkos, [Vincent] Lecavalier, and [Martin] St. Louis. They’re [going to] come out flying and we [have] to be physical with them,” Josh Camarote said.

“We’ve done really well without [Crosby] so far. I think we can continue that,” Yvette Stayduhar said.

Some think if the Pens make it to the second round that Crosby will make his return. Fans believe the Penguins have what it takes to advance.

“I think we can still do it. We have [Alex] Kovalev, the rest of them, and [Jordan] Staal. I think we’ll be ready. We [have] The Flower in the net. He makes it great,” Josh Baker said.

The puck is set to drop shortly after 7 p.m. as the Penguins embark on their quest to recapture the Stanley Cup.


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