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Penguins' Crosby back at practice for first time

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Washington's Alex Ovechkin slams into Carolina goaltender Cam Ward in a battle for the top spot last night in the Southeast Division. The Hurricanes won 2-1.

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PITTSBURGH - Sidney Crosby returned to practice with the Pittsburgh Penguins yesterday, almost three weeks after spraining his ankle in a crash into the boards.

Crosby skated four times on his own this week, but this practice was his first work with his teammates since sustaining the injury Jan. 18 against Tampa Bay. Wearing a yellow jersey to show that he was barred from contact, Crosby worked on his shooting and skating and attempted to make sharp turns and quick starts.

Last season's scoring champ was expected to be out six to eight weeks and the Penguins, 4-2-2 since Crosby was hurt, have not revised that timetable. Crosby also doesn't have a firm target date for returning.

"If you want a prediction, it's not going to happen," Crosby said. "It's the most frustrating thing to really go through, because two days you can feel pretty good and one day you can wake up and it's sore. Your body needs to heal and that's the way I have to approach it."

Crosby said he is hoping that by working on his conditioning while his ankle heals, he can play immediately after he is cleared by doctors.

Hurricanes 2, Capitals 1

WASHINGTON - Erik Cole and Andrew Ladd scored first-period goals, and Carolina beat Washington to retake first place in the Southeast Division.

Ducks 2, Devils 1

NEWARK, N.J. Ryan Carter scored his first two NHL goals for Anaheim in the first period. Jonas Hiller protected the lead by stopping 34 shots - 15 in the third period.

Bruins 3, Sabres 2

BUFFALO - Phil Kessel scored the lone shootout goal, and Boston rallied from a two-goal deficit. Marco Sturm and Zdeno Chara scored third-period goals for the Bruins.

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