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Saturday, October 18, 2014

A Good Loss, A Good Injury by @LCJS

Dupuis' injury might teach the Pens a lesson.
By Lee C.J. Sobotka | Staff Writer

On Thursday, the Pittsburgh Penguins lost to the Dallas Stars in heartbreaking fashion.  However, there is a way to view this as a positive.

Against the Anaheim Ducks, the Pens scored 3 goals in the 1st period and cruised to a 6-4 win.  Against the Toronto Maple Leafs, another 3 goal first period lead to a 5-2 win.  The Stars game stated no different, as the Pens jumped to an early 2-0 lead.

To say the team was rolling was an understatement.  The Stars goal at the 6:08 point of the second period didn't seem like it would pose too much of a problem as the Pens were still flying around and registering chance after chance.  That all changed less than a minute later at the 6:58 mark when Pascal Dupuis was hit in the neck with a puck.

The brutal injury seemed to shake the Pens, who looked like a team that just wanted to go home.  Time could not move fast enough, and the Pens were doing just enough to keep the Stars in check.

Then, with about 3 minutes to go in the game, when Dallas seemingly tied the game only to have the goal disallowed, momentum shifted totally to the Stars.  Moments later, the game was tied and then lost with just seconds remaining.  The Pens lost the chance at a point in the standings, but hopefully gained a little perspective.

It's hard to look at an injury to a player (one who will return tonight against the Islanders, by the way) as a positive, but I think that's the only way to view this.

The team began the season on a rampage, basically having their way with opponents.  Yes, other teams would put up some goals against them, mostly against the penalty kill, but at no time did it feel like the Pens would stop their rampage.

It was only when the specter of adversity reared its head with Dupuis' injury did the team confront something they seemed unprepared for.  Now that it's "out of the way," so to speak, we can only hope that the Pens noticed how easy it was to take their collective foot off the gas and lose a game so that they don't make a habit of it.

Tonight, versus the Islanders, we'll see if the Penguins learned this valuable lesson or if they think that teams are just going to roll over an play dead.

I'm betting we see a high octane onslaught once again.

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