The Pens gave every reason to continue the growth of positive feelings surrounding the team in the early going. This night, however, would see Head Coach Mike Johnston's debut winning streak stopped cold.
If only the scoreboard would have reflected the team's only loss on the evening.
As has been the case in this young season, the Pens' Power Play was firing on all cylinders. Stars' defenseman Brenden Dillon took a seat in the Sin Bin just 1:29 into the game for tripping Sidney Crosby. And it was the Captain who made him pay when an apparent pass toward Chris Kunitz careened off of Jordie "The Other" Benn's stick, sneaking past goaltender Kari Lehtonen.
Kunitz would get his goal just over five minutes later, at 7:46, as Vernon Fiddler sat in the box watching for Dallas. The 2014 Olympian potted the rebound off of a Kris Letang shot and the Pens seemed to be in the driver's seat once again.
Then Consol Energy Center had the life sucked out of it as Pascal Dupuis, battling former Penguin defenseman Alex Goligoski, was knocked to all fours before catching a Kris Letang slap shot square in the neck/spine region.
Dupuis, just coming off of last year's season-ending ACL tear, laid on the ice for a period of time, attended to by medical personnel, experiencing numbness in his arm. Eventually, the Penguins' forward was stretchered off the ice.
Last reports via twitter indicate that Dupuis feeling was returning to his arm and hands. He will likely undergo tests and evaluation this morning. Pens Initiative will keep you up to date as that news develops.
Dupuis had numbness in his arm. Feeling has started to come back.
— Josh Yohe (@JoshYohe_Trib) October 17, 2014
The shift in momentum resulting from the Dupuis injury - both on the ice and among fans -was obvious from that point forward. However the 2nd period did end with the Pens still up 2-1.
The score would remain that way through much of the third period. Jamie Benn would help the Stars come close to tying it up after gaining ground on Evgeni Malkin, driving to the net and crashing into Marc-Andre Fleury. The puck fluttered back out the right circle andwas subsequently buried by Benn's linemate. The goal was immediately disallowed.
|The International sign for "No goal."|
Then, like something out of a nightmare, Sidney Crosby took an inexplicable penalty off of a lost draw, reaching out with his stick, tripping Benn and setting up a faceoff to the right of Fleury with 9.6 seconds to play in regulation.
|So much net.|
The league's worst PK unit killed off 6.7 seconds of that time before Tyler Seguin buried the puck off of the Pittsburgh goaltender's blocker. Seguin's shot was set up by former Senators captain Jason Spezza who faked a shot from Fleury's left before throwing it across to Seguin who had 6 feet of cage to work with.
The loss marks the first of the season for the Pens, now 2-1-0. The Pens face the New York Islanders on Saturday, a 7:00 start at Consol Energy Center.