Crosby tired but healthy after season debut

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“There are things that as the games go on I’m going to have to improve and get better, but it’s only going to happen through playing,” Crosby said.

Even if it means he has to shake off coach Dave Bylsma to do it. Bylsma felt Crosby’s 15:54 of ice time was just about right but pointed out nearly half of it came in the first period, including a power play shift Crosby earned by basically ignoring his coach.

Bylsma was preparing to call for a line change when the penalty was called. Crosby started toward the bench, heard the whistle and immediately veered in the direction of the faceoff dot.

The way his superstar was playing, Bylsma knew he had no chance of winning the argument.

Crosby scored his first goal of the season on his third shift, beating three Islander defenders to the net before flipping a backhand over the glove of New York goaltender Anders Nilsson. He later added assists on goals by Evgeni Malkin and Brooks Orpik before collecting his second goal on a relatively innocent backhand that caromed off Nilsson and into the net.

More impressive than Crosby’s seemingly boundless energy to Bylsma is the way he played. He didn’t force anything and fit in perfectly alongside usual linemates Pascal Dupuis and Chris Kunitz.

“It looks different, but it’s not off the gameplan,” Bylsma said. “It’s not taking chances. It’s the way we want to play as a team.”

Even if for a night it was all about Sid the Kid, who was so fired up after scoring his first goal since Dec. 28, 2010 he let loose a not-so mild profanity.

The outburst from the typically reserved Crosby drew a laugh from his teammates and a sheepish postgame apology from their captain.

“Don’t read my lips,” Crosby said.

He’s prefer you read his actions, both his own and those of a team that looks very much like a Stanley Cup favorite.

Marc-Andre Fleury stopped 29 shots to collect his 21st career shutout, the defense was solid and the Penguins _ for the first time since losing to Montreal in the 2010 Stanley Cup playoffs _ are healthy.

Monday night was just the third time in the team’s last 103 games Crosby and fellow centers Malkin and Jordan Staal played together. It’s a luxury few teams in the league can match.

It’s also fragile. The Penguins need only point to last season as proof, when all three missed massive chunks of the season with injuries.

“I don’t want to jinx anything,” Orpik said.

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