AP Sports Writer

PITTSBURGH (AP) - Pittsburgh Penguins star Sidney Crosby made a splash in his return from a two-month layoff following abdominal surgery.

Crosby poured in a goal and three assists in a 7-3 romp over Minnesota that gave the Penguins their fourth consecutive victory and pulled them within four points of Washington in the Metropolitan Division.

Pittsburgh played remarkably well without Crosby, posting the NHL's second-best record during his 28-game absence.

Forward Zach Aston-Reese says Crosby's injury forced the Penguins to become a better defensive team. Forward Bryan Rust says Crosby's return makes the team more dangerous on offense.

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