On a hit from Mike Rupp, Penguins center Jordan Staal suffered a left knee injury in the third period of last night’s 3-1 loss to the New York Rangers. Staal who was in severe pain, will miss tonight’s game vs the New Jersey and is fully expected to be out of the lineup for a little while.âYou saw (Staal) leave the game with an apparent knee injury,â head coach Bylsma said today, following the Penguins optional skate this morning âAt this point in time itâs too early to tell the significance of the injury, ” Bylsma added.
Rupps take on the hit, “I’m turning and got my legs out, I don’t move my knee but I understand the call,” Rupp said afterwards. “I’m 6-5, he’s 6-4, we’ve both got long legs and sometimes those things happen. I hope he’s all right.”
Here’s what I’ve been able to gather today: if there’s any good news, I’m told Staal doesn’t have a severe ACL tear that doctors know right off the bat like the Steelers knew last Sunday with Rashard Mendenhall after minutes of looking at him and the Penguins with Evgeni Malkin last February when they also knew immediately there was severe damage.
The word coming from team sources is that the early prognosis on Staal is that he has a Grade 2/3 MCL tear that would put him out of the lineup for at least 3-6 weeks with no surgery required.
The Penguins though don’t know the full extent on whether there might be more damage than the initial tests show. Further tests and evaluation were on-going as of late this morning.
Post Pens – Rangers Fallout
Pittsburgh has fallen 10 pts behind the New York Rangers (26-9-4, 56pts) and while there’s still a ways to go in the season, the Penguins struggles against good teams is becoming a concern as the Penguins are 4-8-1 against the current top-8 in the Eastern Conference, 0-4 combined against the Rangers and Flyers this season and overall, 0-5 against the three best teams in the East (Rangers, Bruins, Flyers).
Last night was a game that the Penguins should have taken advantage of the Rangers being drained from a mental standpoint. The Penguins got out to the type of start they wanted but again couldn’t maintain a 60-minute type of game which is becoming frustrating from some key veterans in the locker room.
“We were tired, ” Rangers head coach John Tortorella said. “It’s been a long week here, but it’s part of our game. You see teams so much in our league say…. OK, let’s pack it in tonight, we’ll get going the next game.’ I don’t want this team to do that.”
The Rangers didn’t and found a way to prevail like good teams do thanks to excellent goaltending and capitalizing on the Penguins mistakes. “That was a huge two points, ” Rangers left winger Brandon Dubinsky said.
Lundqvist was sensational and outplayed Marc Andre Fleury who had poor rebound control and a third period gaffe with the puck.
Something though continues to remain off with this team, despite the players and head coach Dan Bylsma being very pleased with their play last night.
“A lot of that game is the way we need to play, but it comes down to a couple of plays, a couple mistakes by our team,” Bylsma said. “They come out of the period 1-1 even though we dictated the first 12-14 minutes.”
“I thought we played well, executed well, ” defenseman Ben Lovejoy said. “But we made three mistakes and they capitalized.”
A few thoughts on the Rangers:
*What’s impressive with this team is how everyone seems to buy into their system and they remind me of the Boston Bruins of how it’s systems go and the players are on the same page.
*Speaking of everyone buying into the Rangers system, you can’t look no further than Marin Gaborik who has been tremendous this season. But, what caught my eye last night was that he looked like Marian Hossa in his ability and effort to play two way hockey.
New Jersey Devils (22-16-2, 46 pts) @ Pittsburgh Penguins (21-14-4, 46 pts)
Kunitz – Malkin – Neal
Cooke – Dupuis – Adams
Sullivan – Park – Kennedy
Macintyre – Vitale – Mcdonald
Martin – Michalek
Orpik – Engelland
Niskanen – Lovejoy
marc andre fleury in goal
The Penguins are in the midst of their longest losing streak (regulation losses) since a five game losing streak Dec. 27, 2009-Jan. 3, 2010…. The Penguins will fall out of the top-8 in the East and into 9th place with a loss and wins tonight by the Leafs and Capitals….. Pascal Dupuis will play a checking line center role tonight matched up against Patrick Elias line……Marc Andre Fleury is playing in his 400th career game tonight. Fleury will face Martin Brodeur in goal….Pittsburgh’s big guns have gone cold. Evgeni Malkin hasn’t scored in six games and James Neal who leads the team with 21 goals is pointless in his last three games. Malkin hasn’t recorded a point in his last six games vs the Devils…The Penguins have used 33 skaters this season, tied for most in NHL