It started off so good for the Pittsburgh Penguins- their top ranked power play scored on their first two opportunities with Sidney Crosby and Chris Kunitz scoring the first two goals of the game.
Then, it all slipped away. Antoine Roussell scored in the second period, but then the real blow came. Alex Goligoski cross-checked Pascal Dupuis in the back in front of the Stars net. It was a normal, routine play that defensemen do to forwards all the time. Unfortunately, it happened right as Kris Letang released a shot on goal, which hit the crumpled Dupuis somewhere in the upper back/neck. Dupuis was down and immobile, needing a stretcher to get off the ice.
Just like that, it seemed like the air was out of the Penguins balloon, playing a pretty listless 3rd period that saw Jamie Benn score a goal to tie it not long after a goal was disallowed by the Stars.
Then Crosby took Benn down after a faceoff, giving the Stars a last minute power play. With 2.9 seconds left, Tyler Seguin took a really hard pass and rifled a shot by Marc-Andre Fleury before he could go from post to post. Game over.
- The Pens ended with 29 shots on the night. You know how many of them came from their 5 regulars of the #1 power play unit? 19. The other 13 skaters combined for only 10 shots on goal all night, including only 2 shots from the other five defensemen not named Kris Letang. Obviously the big boys have to do most of the heavy lifting, but the Pens need more from their depth than what they got tonight.
- Rob Scuderi (11:28 ES played) and Simon Despres (11:43 ES played) got their minutes limited big time after they were on the ice for the first goal against. Neither played it particularly well.
- Crosby will take heat for taking the penalty that led to the game winning goal, but it wouldn't have happened either if Brandon Sutter didn't lose the faceoff clean. That said, the play was made by Jason Spezza 's hard pass to Seguin, and his excellent handling of it and his quick release to get the shot off. Sometimes the other guys make a play.
- Sutter though, still was 60% on the night in faceoffs. He might have lost the last one, but he (and the rest of the team) was quite good before that point.
- Kind of fitting the way the first PP unit was moving the puck around that every member of the 5 unit team ended up with one point on the two goals, save Kunitz who had 2. The Pens power play is a major weapon right now. But they only got chances in the first period and the even strength offense did next to nothing the rest of the way.
- Hits were 33-12 in favor of the Pens. Home town stat keeper much?
At the end, the Penguins have no choice but to move on. It doesn't hurt to lose a game this early in the season, but it definitely stings a little to lose almost at the buzzer- and it definitely is troubling to see a player get stretchered off the ice. There has been no update of yet on exactly what Dupuis' status and condition is, but hopefully he will be feeling better very soon. The Pens get the red hot New York Islanders on Saturday.