For a second time this season, Sidney Crosby will return to the Penguins' lineup after an extended absence due to concussion-like symptoms. The game plan sounds eerily familiar to Crosby's first return back in December. Dan Bylsma says he's going to limit Crosby's minutes to around 15 until they get him eased back into playing. While Bylsma broke this promise after a few games last time, it seems highly unlikely he will take that risk again, especially since the Penguins are scheduled to player 3 games in 4 days against their division.

As far as line mates are considered, Crosby will see a few unfamiliar faces when he takes the ice against the New York Rangers, Thursday; Matt Cooke and Tyler Kennedy. Usually third line wingers to Jordan Staal, Cooke and Kennedy will be skating with Sidney Crosby early on.

While this is seen as simply Bylsma's way of tinkering before the playoffs next month, it is also a golden opportunity for Tyler Kennedy, who has had a tough year thus far, to rebound. After putting up a career high 21 goals and 24 assists last season, Kennedy has only managed to score six goals this year. On top of his inability to find the net, Kennedy missed a month due to a sprained ankle back in early February. If there's a player that can help him score, it's Sidney Crosby.

And, despite the success the team has sustained without a strong Kennedy this season, they will need him to score a handful of goals in the playoffs. In the 08-09 cup run, Kennedy scored 5 goals including the game winner against the Detroit Red Wings in Game 6. While Jordan Staal is obviously the most talented player on that third line, the threat of Kennedy making plays takes some of the pressure off Staal. The third line, arguably the best in hockey, can be the difference maker in the playoffs if Kennedy-Staal-Cooke are effective.

On the other hand, if Kennedy does not take advantage of his opportunities with Crosby, it would not be out of the realm of possibility to sit "TK" during the playoff run. With Crosby coming back the Penguins will need to scratch one of their grinders to make room. That means Joe Vitale, Eric Tangradi or Arron Asham. Vitale is 18th in the league in face-offs and best on the team at 55%, Eric Tangradi is a physical player, well suited for the playoffs, and Arron Asham can score a few goals while hitting as well.

If Tyler Kennedy cannot put the puck in the net by mid-April, he is useless to the Pittsburgh Penguins. The team has superstars at center, defense and goaltending. But in the playoffs, they need secondary scoring from their role players. Kennedy is one of those players and he may be one of the most important players to look for down the stretch.

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