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Penguins notebook: Despres returns to lineup

| Thursday, May 9, 2013, 7:33 p.m.

Simon Despres was not banished to the permanent dog house of coach Dan Bylsma.

Despres played Thursday in Game 5 of a first-round Stanley Cup playoff series for the Penguins. He replaced veteran Mark Eaton, who was a minus-4 in Games 3 and 4 at Nassau Coliseum.

Despres was paired primarily with Kris Letang in Game 5.

He was the injury replacement for Brooks Orpik in Game 3 but played only about six minutes in the Penguins' overtime win over the New York Islanders. He was on the ice for both goals scored by the Islanders, who raced to a 2-0 lead in that game. On their first goal, Despres fell into goalie Marc-Andre Fleury.

Despres said before Game 5 that Penguins coaches had no special message for him, but he added, “I need to be more reliable, stay on my feet.”

Crosby hurt briefly

Only a few minutes after splitting two Islanders defenders and scoring his third playoff goal for a 3-0 lead in the second period, Penguins captain Sidney Crosby blocked a shot and skated awkwardly off the ice and went directly to the dressing room.

He returned to the bench before the end of the period.

Crosby up for Lindsay

Crosby is a finalist for the Ted Lindsay Award, annually awarded to the NHL's best overall player as selected by a vote of the players. Washington's Alex Ovechkin and Tampa Bay's Steven Stamkos are also finalists for the Players' Association's “players award.”

Crosby said he voted for Stamkos.

Nomination for the “players award” is often a sign that a player will be a finalist for the Hart Trophy, or the MVP, which is voted on by select members of the Professional Hockey Writers' Association. Crosby won the Hart and “players award” in 2007 and was a finalist for both in 2010.

A Penguins player has won the “players award” eight times, with Mario Lemieux (four) and Jaromir Jagr (two) being the only multiple winners. Evgeni Malkin won the Hart and Lindsay last season.

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