Dupuis injured; Penguins' winning streak halted with 5-0 loss in Ottawa



OTTAWA -- It was a tumultuous first period.

And then it got worse.

The Penguins' winning streak was halted at seven games -- and that wasn't all that went wrong Monday night -- in a 5-0 loss to the Ottawa Senators at Canadian Tire Centre. Senators goaltender Craig Anderson made 27 saves for his second shutout of the season and 24th of his career.

The team lost top-line right winger Pascal Dupuis to an apparent right knee injury just 3:35 into the game after a play in which Senators defenseman Marc Methot landed a hip check on Dupuis' linemate, Sidney Crosby, knocking Crosby into Dupuis.

It has been an incredible season for injuries to the Penguins. They were already without 11 players because of injuries going into the game, and have had other players out at various points earlier in the season.

Coach Dan Bylsma had no information about the nature or severity of Dupuis' injury, but he stood firm that injuries will not get him down.

"I'm pretty sure shaking my head doesn't do any good," Bylsma said.

On the play, Crosby had a head of steam skating down the left edge of the slot. When he attempted a move to split two Ottawa players, Methot responded with a hip check that took out both Penguins like bowling pins. Dupuis had been skating in support of Crosby as Crosby carried the puck.

"I don't know how low it was," Crosby said of the hit. "He almost blew my knee out. It was pretty low. I don't know if it was right above my knee or by my hip. I just know that it was awfully close."

Dupuis slid to the end boards and immediately grabbed at his right knee. He was helped off of the ice.

Crosby left the ice on his own, and shortly thereafter, so did defenseman Matt Niskanen, who apparently had an equipment problem. They returned well before the end of the first period, but Dupuis did not.

Crosby described Dupuis as being "in some pain."

Even referee Dean Morton didn't escape the game unscathed.

He was on the ice and left the game briefly after apparently being hit by a puck.

That meant that at one point in the first period, the Penguins had just 10 skaters on their bench and the game had just one referee, Eric Furlatt, on the ice.

In the midst of all that, Ottawa scored the only goal of the first period.

Colin Greening won a faceoff to Cody Ceci. Penguins goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury stopped a shot by Ceci, but Zack Smith, on his backhand, shoveled the puck past Fleury's left skate for a 1-0 lead at 6:54.

The Senators got a power-play goal at 5:46 of the second period for a 2-0 lead when Bobby Ryan tipped in Chris Phillips' shot from the point off the inside of Fleury's pads.

The Penguins entered the game with the best power play in the NHL, but failed to score on four in the second period and were 0 for 7 in the game.

"Our power play hurt us," Crosby said. "We had some real good chances in the second, a 2-0 game. It didn't feel like they were getting much in the second period. We didn't capitalize on the power plays that we got, and then [Erik] Karlsson's goal in the third took lot of momentum away from us."

Karlsson gave Ottawa a 3-0 lead 1:36 into the third with a shot from the right point that sailed over Fleury's left shoulder, and Kyle Turris extended the lead to 4-0 at 12:42.

Cory Conacher removed any trace of doubt with a goal on his own rebound at 14:02, making it 5-0.

It's possible the Penguins were thrown off early after Dupuis and Crosby left the ice.

"Yeah, I suppose it could," Niskanen said. "It just throws you out of your rhythm a little bit maybe. Not that much. Not five goals much."

Crosby's points streak was halted at 10 games, and Fleury's winning streak ended at five. Fleury is 22-3 and still leads the NHL in wins.

Dupuis has been durable for the Penguins, missing just two games over the past four seasons.

He has seven goals, 20 points this season.

If Dupuis' injury is a significant one, it will be the first such injury to any member of the top line. Dupuis, Crosby and left winger Chris Kunitz have played in all 39 games and are among only six forwards who have not missed a game.

Hours before the game, Ottawa coach Paul MacLean was asked about the Penguins being without center Evgeni Malkin, one of their myriad injured players. MacLean talked up Crosby and his linemates.

Bylsma had made one change to his line combinations for the game, with right wingers Chris Conner and Harry Zolnierczyk exchanging places. Conner moved to the second line, Zolnierczyk to the third.

But it didn't last long, as the lines got shuffled -- and the Penguins got out of sorts -- after Dupuis got hurt.

"The guys did a good job adjusting, moving around in different positions," center Brandon Sutter said.

Just not a good enough job to score, much less extend the winning streak.

Shelly Anderson: shanderson@post-gazette.com, 412-263-1721 and Twitter @pgshelly.


First Published December 23, 2013 10:10 PM

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