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Pens' Crosby hopes doctor gives him green light for Game 1

Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review - The Penguins' Sidney Crosby practices with the team Friday, April 26, 2013, at Southpointe.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review</em></div>The Penguins' Sidney Crosby practices with the team Friday, April 26, 2013, at Southpointe.
Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review - Jerry Kienzl sprays the Stanley Cup Playoffs logo as the ice is prepared for the Penguins' playoff series against the Islanders on April 29, 2013, at Consol Energy Center.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review</em></div>Jerry Kienzl sprays the Stanley Cup Playoffs logo as the ice is prepared for the Penguins' playoff series against the Islanders on April 29, 2013, at Consol Energy Center.

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Eastern Conference quarterfinals

No. 1 Penguins vs. No. 8 Islanders

Game 1: 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Consol Energy Center, Root Sports

Game 2: 7 p.m. Friday, Consol Energy Center, Root Sports

Game 3: Noon Sunday, Nassau Coliseum, NBC

Game 4: 7 p.m. May 7, Nassau Coliseum, Root Sports

*Game 5: 7 p.m. May 9, Consol Energy Center, Root Sports

*Game 6: May 11, Nassau Coliseum, TBD

*Game 7: May 12, Consol Energy Center, TBD

* — If necessary

'American Coyotes' Series

Traveling by Jeep, boat and foot, Tribune-Review investigative reporter Carl Prine and photojournalist Justin Merriman covered nearly 2,000 miles over two months along the border with Mexico to report on coyotes — the human traffickers who bring illegal immigrants into the United States. Most are Americans working for money and/or drugs. This series reports how their operations have a major impact on life for residents and the environment along the border — and beyond.

By Josh Yohe
Monday, April 29, 2013, 8:27 p.m.
 

A visit to the doctor Tuesday should confirm whether Sidney Crosby has the green light to play in Game 1 of the Penguins' Eastern Conference quarterfinal series against the New York Islanders.

Crosby made it clear he feels well enough to play.

“Yeah,” he said, in a serious tone, when asked if he believes he could be back in the lineup.

But he won't have the final say.

“I see the doctor tomorrow,” Crosby said. “I try not to have any (expectations). Just going for an appointment. I don't have any control over it. There's no point in getting worked up about it.”

Crosby said he's beginning to feel more comfortable with the full-face mask he's wearing to protect his jaw.

“Oh yeah,” Crosby said when asked if he is adjusting to the mask. “It's something that you get used to a bit more. We all wore that at some point; some of us had a cage.”

If the Penguins make a substantial Stanley Cup playoff run, Crosby likely will be allowed to play without the mask at some point.

Crosby said he would be most comfortable on a line with wingers Chris Kunitz and Pascal Dupuis when he returns.

“It's not up to me,” he said. “But we're pretty comfortable together. It would probably make for an easier transition. But that's not my job. My job is to play. When I'm able to come back, I'll be happy with whoever I'm playing with.”

Orpik's status uncertain

Penguins defenseman Brooks Orpik remains a question mark for Wednesday's playoff opener.

Orpik suffered a lower-body injury last week against the Buffalo Sabres and didn't play in the Penguins' final two regular-season games.

Orpik skated Monday at Southpointe but didn't practice with the team.

If Orkpik can't play in Game 1, he likely will be replaced in the lineup by defenseman Deryk Engelland.

Martin in good form

Martin missed almost a month with a broken bone in his hand but is finally 100 percent and believes his ability to play Saturday against Carolina was a big deal.

He didn't appear rusty while playing more than 23 minutes against the Hurricanes.

“I think it was a good thing that I got in there,” Martin said. “I kind of pushed it a little bit.

“When you get into the playoffs, it's a different kind of game. You need your timing, so it helped to play.”

Plenty of depth

Several players who are likely to be healthy scratches in Game 1 stayed on the Southpointe ice for additional work Monday.

That group included Beau Bennett, Joe Vitale, Dustin Jeffrey, Simon Despres and Robert Bortuzzo. They have combined for 12 goals and 36 points.

Vitale missed the past two games with a lower-body injury but is healthy enough to play.

Josh Yohe is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at jyohe@tribweb.com or via Twitter @JoshYohe_Trib.

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