There was a positive development at Pittsburgh’s skate on Friday morning, as Pascal Dupuis returned to the ice less than 24 hours after getting stretchered off against Dallas:
Dupuis was knocked out of the game midway through the second period on Thursday after falling in the path of a Kris Letang slapshot (courtesy a cross-check from Stars d-man Alex Goligoski). The incident, here:
As the video shows, Dupuis gave the crowd a thumbs-up prior to exiting the ice; following the game, Pens head coach Mike Johnston said Dupuis “had some numbness in his arm and it was coming back, so that’s a real positive sign.”
Update: Dupuis did not participate in Pens practice.
Frightening moment in Pittsburgh on Thursday night as Pens forward Pascal Dupuis left the ice on a stretcher after getting hit by a puck.
The incident, here:
As the video shows, the timing of events couldn’t be worse — Alex Goligoski’s cross-check put Dupuis right in the path of Kris Letang’s shot at a very dangerous time.
Pittsburgh led 2-1 at the time of the injury and Dupuis was in the midst of an eventful night, having already recorded two shots, two hits and a blocked shot. The veteran winger has been a key contributor for the Pens this year (four points in two games) after missing 43 games last season to a torn ACL.
The Dallas Stars — a chic Cup contender pick after their ballyhooed offseason — are off to an 0-1-1 start to the year and, to hear head coach Lindy Ruff explain it, the lack of wins correlates to the play of their best players.
“I think our top guys have struggled, and it’s probably hurt us more than anything,” Ruff said following a 4-1 loss to Nashville over the weekend, per the Morning-News. “If they’re going well, we’re going to win. They’ve had a little bit of a tough preseason, and I think we’re seeing a little bit of that still now.”
Captain Jamie Benn is pointless thus far with a minus-3 rating. Same goes for Tyler Seguin (no points, minus-3). Top d-man Alex Goligoski is a team-worst minus-5, but it must be mentioned the trio wasn’t solely responsible for the lopsided nature of the Preds game; in fact, Benn and Seguin finished with positive possession metrics.
Which brings us to the goaltending.
Kari Lehtonen hasn’t been great and, per the Morning-News’ Mike Heika, “has looked shaky through the end of training camp and in the season opener.” The Stars turned to ex-Lightning backup Anders Lindback for the Nashville tilt and, after a solid first 40 minutes, Lindback looked shaky in the third, allowing two goals in less than two minutes — one of which was this short-sider from Eric Nystrom:
(Brough mentioned Lindback as one of Dallas’ risk factors for the upcoming campaign, by the way.)
With none of his top guns firing, Ruff says the Stars need to get things turned around quickly. Dallas has a pair of tough road games this week — on Tuesday against the undefeated Blue Jackets, Thursday against the Penguins — and will close out the month of October with a pair of difficult home dates against the Blues and Ducks.
Finally, the deal’s done.
On Thursday, the Dallas Stars inked RFA d-man Brenden Dillon to a one-year, $1.25 million deal, ending a contractual impasse that saw Dillon miss the entirety of Dallas’ training camp — including all six exhibition games.
Earlier this week, things between Dillon and the Stars seemed to have soured when Dillon’s agent, Jarret Bousquet, told the Morning-News the situation was “frustrating and disappointing,” adding that Stars GM Jim Nill had rejected a two-year, $3.8 million offer for the 23-year-old blueliner.
That acrimony is now a thing of the past, however.
With this new deal, Dallas returns one of its biggest defensive contributors to the fold; last year, Dillon scored 17 points in 80 games — which included a career-high six goals — leading all Stars in hits (168) while finishing second in blocked shots (149).
Earlier today, the Stars trimmed their roster to 23 in preparation for opening night (Thursday, Oct. 9, when they’ll take on Chicago.) That included seven defensemen — Trevor Daley, Alex Goligoski, Sergei Gonchar, Kevin Connauton, Patrik Nemeth, Jamie Oleksiak and Jordie Benn — but Gonchar is currently sidelined with a lower-body injury. That should open up a spot for Dillon, assuming he can get up to game shape in a week’s time.
From Mark Stepneski of Stars Inside Edge:
Lehtonen suffered a “mild” concussion Monday versus the Panthers.
Gonchar apparently took a puck off his ankle Tuesday versus the Lightning.
The Stars are also, of course, without defenseman Brenden Dillon, who has yet to agree upon a contract.
The Gonchar injury leaves them with just six healthy d-men on the roster — Trevor Daley, Alex Goligoski, Jordie Benn, Kevin Connauton, Patrik Nemeth and Jamie Oleksiak.
Related: After rejecting Dillon offer, Stars trim roster to seven D