Things finally started to look up for Dustin Penner on Thursday, as he scored a goal and an assist while being lined up with Anaheim Ducks stars Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry. His tough luck continued, however, as he’s now day-to-day with a lower-body injury suffered during that blowout win against the New York Rangers, as Bruce Boudreau told the OC Register’s Eric Stephens.*
Penner, 31, is questionable for Sunday’s home contest versus the Ottawa Senators.
The big winger’s second tour with the Ducks hasn’t gone swimmingly. Boudreau described his training camp work as “mediocre” and made him a healthy scratch for the team’s first game of 2013-14.
Penner managed that goal and assist in just 8:26 of time last night, providing a tease at what the Ducks’ beefy trio could possibly produce if they’re together longer. (Brian Burke must have some mixed feelings in Calgary.)
As much of a punchline as Penner can be to some, it’s foolish to ignore his production, especially from his earlier Ducks and Oilers days. He scored 32 goals and 63 points with Edmonton in 2009-10 and has three additional 20+ goal seasons to his name. Despite the early headaches, he could still be a solid bargain for the Ducks at $2 million.
* – Note: Stephens updated the outlook as a lower-body issue, not upper.
The Montreal Canadiens gave captain Brian Gionta their blessing to return to Montreal on Friday to address the “personal reasons” that have been a distraction for him early this season.
The Canadiens will face the Canucks in Vancouver on Saturday, so it’s possible that he could still play. Still, the Montreal Gazette’s Dave Stubbs believes Gionta’s next game will be a road contest against the Winnipeg Jets on Tuesday.
Gionta has been able to play in all four of Montreal’s games so far, scoring a goal and an assist.
The 34-year-old’s $5 million cap hit and salary expires after this season.
Henrik Lundqvist and the New York Rangers are off to a putrid start, so Alain Vigneault is going with Martin Biron in net against the St. Louis Blues on Saturday, Newsday’s Steve Zipay reports.
Lundqvist, 31, admitted that his confidence was shaken after allowing six goals against the Anaheim Ducks in Thursday’s embarrassing loss.
“I don’t have an explanation. You try just to battle,” Lundqvist said. “I can only speak for myself. You try to stay confident. but that’s really tough in a game like this, a situation like this. I have to better, we have to be better. Let’s not point any fingers; we all have to step up.”
Rangers GM Glen Sather said he expected the team to face growing pains, just not to these proportions (1-3-0 record with six goals scored, a league-high 20 allowed).
“I expected some but I didn’t think it would be this bad,” Sather said. “Some guys are struggling; we’ll get better.”
Considering Lundqvist’s rough start (.879 save percentage, 4.31 GAA), it might be better for everyone if he takes a little breather. The Rangers enjoy what might be a helpful gap between tomorrow’s game in St. Louis and Wednesday’s trip to face the also-struggling Washington Capitals.
Besides, the Blues haven’t been very kind to goalies lately, anyway.