PITTSBURGH -- Anders Nilsson probably figured facing Sidney Crosby would prove a challenge Monday night, but the Islanders' rookie goaltender couldn't have predicted what an onslaught he'd face in Crosby's first game in 10 1/2 months.
On the first shift of the game, Chris Kunitz, Crosby's linemate, flipped a backhand off the crossbar. On the next shift for Crosby's line, he blew past Andrew MacDonald and rocketed a backhand over Nilsson's shoulder.
It didn't get easier for the 22-year-old rookie goaltender, who gave up five goals on 36 shots -- eight of them by Crosby, who scored twice, including a goal in the third period on a backhand through traffic.
"He was outstanding tonight," Nilsson said. "He had quite a few scoring chances."
Nilsson got little help from his team but still had a couple goals he would have liked back -- Brooks Orpik's in the first period and Crosby's in the third.
"It's hard to be satisfied with my game tonight. I know I can play better than that," Nilsson said. "The tempo and the speed, everything happens a lot quicker up here. It's night and day from the American League."
Ullstrom makes debut
In his first NHL game, David Ullstrom had four hits and threw his body around on the forecheck, and also had one of the better scoring chances late in the game.
"I thought he played a solid game," Jack Capuano said. "He and Matt [Martin] were out there taking the body."
Kyle Okposo returned after a three-game absence as a healthy scratch and struggled again, with no shots on goal in 13:16 of ice time.
Eaton sprains MCL