Stanley Cup Playoffs: Friday's Need to Know

The league's best-known star is ready to play again, while a player who was anonymous until delivering a devastating hit Thursday night will learn if he's being suspened. Here's a rundown of Friday's top NHL playoff stories.

Canucks, Habs look to avoid 2-0 deficits

Sidney Crosby, seen tracking a Pittsburgh shot on New York goalie Evgeni Nabokov on Jan. 30, will return after missing 13 games. (Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)

The league's best-known star is back on the ice, and a player who was relatively anonymous found out if he was suspended two games for something he did in his very first NHL playoff game.

Here's a list of things you need to know about the NHL playoffs on Friday, which we'll update throughout the day:

  • Sidney Crosby will be back on NHL ice for a game for the first time since the March 30 shot that busted several of his teeth and broke his jaw. The Pittsburgh Penguins captain on Friday morning said he was drawing back in to reporters, who dutifully took to Twitter to relay the information.
  • The Islanders have let in 10 Pittsburgh goals since last they scored against the Penguins. It's a drought that extends over 142 minutes and 2½ games. The next New York player to score will be the first to get a goal in the playoffs for the Islanders since Chris Campoli in 2007.
  • The NHL puncished Ottawa defenceman Eric Gryba for his hit Thursday on Montreal defenceman Lars Eller. The meeting between league was expedited because the teams are playing on consecutive nights, and any potential suspension needed to be determined before another game can be played.
  • Eller was released from the hospital Friday morning, but the incident has led to a war of words between the clubs. The Habs won't be just missing Eller, as it was announced that Max Pacioretty and Brian Gionta are out of the lineup for Game 2 due to undislosed injuries.
  • The spotlight of those playing in Game 2 will be on Habs goalie Carey Price. The Montreal goalie was merely OK and let in a bad goal in the third ,while at the other end of the ice Craig Anderson starred with 48 saves.
  • It only seems like Vancouver only ever faces one of two goalies in the Western Conference playoffs: Jonathan Quick or Antti Niemi. Sharks goalie Niemi is facing the Canucks for the third time (including once in Chicago). The Canucks got the best of him in 2011, but have scored just six times in four losses in 2013 heading into Game 2 on Friday at Rogers Centre.
  • Josh Harding's is a terrific story, but Minnesota would like a win in Chicago for a series split, not just heartwarming press. The last non-shootout victory for the Wild over the Blackhawks was in January 2011. They've lost the last three meetings in close fashion.