Gonchar injured in 5-1 win
It was just another day of work for the defending Stanley Cup Champions Tuesday night. The St. Louis Blues didn’t come ready to play as Pittsburgh outshot the Blues 20-3 in the first period and jumped out to a 2-0 lead on goals from Tyler Kennedy (5) and Evgeni Malkin (4).
The game was over after the first period and Pittsburgh had another total team effort. Evgeni Malkin had a goal and Sidney Crosby added an assist while 13 of 18 skaters recorded points in a 5-1 victory over the St Louis Blues.
Matt Cooke, the games number one star had a goal and an assist. Ruslan Fedotenko (3) and Alex Goligoski (2) also scored for Pittsburgh.
Marc Andre Fleury (8-0) made 22 saves as the Penguins improved to 8-1 on the season. The Penguins have 16 points through their first nine games which ties them for the most by a defending Stanley Cup champion through nine games.
The 1992-1993 Pittsburgh Penguins also opened the season with 16 points in 9 games. They went on to win the Presidents trophy in what was regarded as the best Penguins team ever. However, the Penguins lost in the second round of the playoffs to the New York Islanders that year.
For Pittsburgh though, the win was costly. Defenseman Sergei Gonchar is believed to have suffered a broken left wrist and could be sidelined for up to 6 weeks.
The Penguins are off today but Gonchar will be evaluated by Dr. Charles Burke today at 10:00 a.m.
Team officials feared last night that further tests would have to be done today to fully evaluate the extent of the injury.
“I don’t have an update. We’ll evaluate again tomorrow morning. It looks more like an awkward thing than a big hit or a hard hit. We’re going to see in the morning, Penguins head coach Dan Bylsma said after the game.
Pittsburgh will now look to veteran defenseman Martin Skoula who will appear in his first game of the season Friday night against Florida.
“Right now, we’ve had the unfortunate circumstance of having to sit out Martin Skoula who has played over 700 NHL games, and played 75 plus games a season for a lot of seasons. It looks like most likely he’s going to get a chance to play in the next game anyway. That’s a fortunate thing to put in the lineup,” Dan Bylsma said.
” Our game, our execution, and how we play is not dedicated around one player. Certainly Sergei Gonchar is a very good player, but I think that even tonight you see the execution by guys like Jay McKee. They add to how we play, how fast we can play, and how our D join the rush. We’ll see what happens with ‘Gonch.”
With Gonchar likely out for a significant period of time, Bylsma doesn’t expect the Penguins to change their style.
“If we miss him, I think we’re still going to be able to play a similar style and in a similar style. I don’t think you can replace what he’s done for us and what he does on the power play. Luckily, we have guys like Kris Letang and Alex Goligoski who can play that power play position, if that’s the case”
Pittsburgh has wanted to get Skoula some game action but not at the expense of a significant injury.
From the drop of the puck the Penguins were the superior team Tuesday night. Blues head coach Andy Murray was not happy about his teams performance. Pittsburgh outworked the Blues throughout, winning battle after battle.
“Right from the get-go, when you don’t have the energy or the legs, it means you’re reaching with your sticks so you’re doing things you shouldn’t be doing,” Blues coach Andy Murray said. “Obviously with the shots, it was pretty clear to see such a drop-off and it is difficult to understand why we didn’t have legs or energy.”
The Penguins will return to the ice Thursday.