Penguins notebook: Bennett most likely out 'longer than days'

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MONTREAL -- Winger Beau Bennett wasn't in the Penguins lineup for their game against Montreal Saturday at Bell Centre, and it sounds as if he might not be there for a while.

Bennett sustained an unspecified injury in the Penguins' 4-3 victory against the New York Islanders Friday at Consol Energy Center.

Coach Dan Bylsma said Bennett, who did not accompany his teammates here, still was being evaluated Saturday and did not have a firm prognosis, but that his absence figures to be best measured by something "longer than days, right now."

Bennett, who has one goal and two assists in 12 games, missed 11 games with an unspecified injury earlier this season.

Matt D'Agostini took his place Saturday in the lineup.

Lasting effect

Nearly five years have passed since Bylsma replaced Michel Therrien, who now coaches the Canadiens, behind the Penguins bench.

The handful of players remaining from Therrien's tenure, however, feel he had a lasting impact.

"He implanted something," winger Pascal Dupuis said. "When he came in, I wasn't here, obviously, but I knew for a fact that this team was last [in the standings], and it became a Cup contender every year after.

"It was him, it was the staff that was here, it was the management that brought in the players. He was part of something that turned around the team."

One superstar to another

Evgeni Malkin ended the longest, and likely most exasperating, goal-scoring drought of his career when he got one against the Islanders.

Teammate Sidney Crosby -- who knows a little about being counted on to produce goals and assists -- said he can understand how failing to find the net for so long would get to Malkin, but pointed out that his overall play had been strong in the games leading up to Friday night.

"It's easy to get frustrated," Crosby said. "The expectation is that he's going to score more often. That pressure is there.

"I think for being a little frustrated, as anyone would, he found ways to contribute. That's what he needed to do. That's not easy. I think that's something that could be overlooked, but it's not easy.

"He's done a great job of that. He's helped the guys around him. He's created a lot offensively. I think now that he's got [a goal], I think he'll start to see them go in a lot more."

Statistical musings

Crosby scored his 250th career goal Friday in his 493rd NHL game, faster than all but a handful of active players.

According to the Elias Sports Bureau, only Washington's Alex Ovechkin (366), Teemu Selanne of Anaheim (388), New Jersey's Jaromir Jagr (476) and Dany Heatley of Minnesota (483) did it in fewer.

Elias also reported that when Chris Kunitz recorded two first-period power-play goals against the Islanders, he became the first player since March 10 to get a couple of man-advantage goals in the opening 20 minutes.

What makes that noteworthy is that the previous player to do it was also Kunitz. At Consol Energy Center. In a victory. Against the Islanders.

It's hockey night ... in Canada

For most Penguins, what happened at Bell Centre Saturday was just another road game.

But for others -- specifically, the ones who grew up watching the national institution known as Hockey Night in Canada -- it likely had extra meaning.

"It's big," said defenseman Deryk Engelland, a native of Edmonton, Alberta. "My family will be at home watching. ... It's a ritual for fans to watch Hockey Night in Canada."

Engelland pointed out that NHL players don't often get to watch those broadcasts because they tend to work Saturday nights, but said he tried to tune in at every opportunity before turning pro.

"Even through juniors, if you weren't playing, you'd watch," he said. "The older you got, the more guys you knew in the league, so you'd try to catch the games they were in."


Dave Molinari: Dmolinari@post-gazette.com and Twitter @MolinariPG.

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