Letang, Sullivan injured in win
The Pittsburgh Penguins got a big 4-3 shootout win against the Dallas Stars but it was a potential costly win.
Pascal Dupuis converted in the fourth round of the shootout as the Penguins won their fourth straight game and improved to 16-4-1 in their last 21 games.
Dupuis fired a shot past Stars goaltender Kari Lehtonen and Marc-Andre Fleury denied Michael Ryder’s attempt to clinch the extra point for Pittsburgh who are currently 4th in the Eastern Conference with 79 points.
James Neal and Chris Kunitz also scored in the shootout for Pittsburgh, while Loui Eriksson and Jamie Benn scored for Dallas.
Jamie Benn (18) and Steve Sullivan (12) scored first period goals and Sheldon Souray (6) scored with 13 seconds remaining in the second period, giving Dallas a 2-1 lead going into the third period.
In an up and down high paced game, Craig Adams (4) and Chris Kunitz (18) scored over a 47-second span of the third to make it 3-2 Pittsburgh. The Stars though battled back and Michael Ryder collected his 26th goal of the season to tie the game at 3, 7:23 into the third.
Evgeni Malkin had an assist, collecting his 79th point of the season.
The game featured excellent goaltending from Marc Andre Fleury and Kari Lehtonen. Fleury notched his 33rd win of the season, improving to 14-2-1 in his last 17 games and 6-0-0 in his career vs Dallas.
The Penguins improved to 37-21-5 (79 pts) on the season.
Defenseman Kris Letang was leveled by Eric Nystrom near the end boards in the first period and suffered what could potentially be his second concussion in three months. Letang trying to poke the puck around the boards, gets caught lowering his body and head, and Nystrom coming in on the forecheck levels Letang and the star defenseman was down on the ice and didn’t return.
It’s a hit right now where there appears to be no consensus. Letang no doubt put himself in a vulnerable position, opening himself up for a hard hit as he had his head down, and while Nystrom didn’t appear to target Letang’s head, it’s a play where he appeared to make no attempt to go for the puck and had his mind set on going for the hit. Whether that makes this hit suspendable remains to be seen but it would be surprising if Nystrom gets suspended.
Letang is officially listed as day-to-day for now with an upper body injury. He will be further evaluated.
While any serious long-term injury to Letang would be devastating and likely derail any Cup hopes, the Penguins lost a key forward in the win in Steve Sullivan who collected his 12 goal of the season, extending his points streak to six games and is playing his best hockey of the season.
The worrisome with Sullivan,
is that he suffered a lower body injury, which in all likelihood is a groin injury. An injury that has plagued Sullivan for the past several seasons. Pittsburgh has been lucky to have Sullivan stay healthy thus far but there’s always been this feeling around Sullivan that it’s just going to be a matter of time before he’s sidelined for a period of time. For now word is Sullivan’s injury is minor.