Hossa hurt; Penguins lose
Friday, February 29, 2008
By Dave Molinari, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
BOSTON -- It's easy to pick out the positives from the Penguins' 5-1 loss to Boston at TD Banknorth Garden last night.
There were no fatalities.
And, uh ... that's about it. Scratch the plural part.
The Penguins, having added world-class winger Marian Hossa minutes before the NHL trade deadline Tuesday, hope to create some glorious memories over the next few months, and perhaps they will.
But Hossa's first game with them, which also was the debut of defenseman Hal Gill and forward Pascal Dupuis with the Penguins, is one they can't forget quickly enough.
Even if they already have.
Not only because of their lopsided defeat, but because they lost Hossa, who sprained the medial collateral ligament in his right knee and is expected to be out about a week.
"It's really disappointing," said Hossa, who was hurt in a collision with Boston right winger Glen Murray during a second-period power play. "When I dropped the puck to [defenseman Sergei Gonchar], there was a little hit, knee-on-knee. It was just an accident."
That was Murray's take, too.
"I don't know what happened," he said. "I turned, and we collided. We hit at the hips or the knee or something, then all I heard was, 'Oh [expletive], oh [expletive], oh [expletive].' I figured it had to be him."
Hossa played on a line with Ryan Malone and Jordan Staal and said he felt comfortable there before being injured.
"We had some good shifts, a good start," he said.
Perhaps it was fitting that the Penguins got the worst of Hossa's run-in with Murray, because that's how it went with just about everything last night.
"It was a tough game for us," said Dupuis, who scored the Penguins' lone goal. "It seemed like [the Bruins] won every single battle."
Probably because they did, as the Penguins dropped to 36-22-7 and squandered a chance to take over first place in the Eastern Conference.
Goalie Ty Conklin, who has played such a prominent role in hoisting the Penguins toward the top of the conference, gave up three goals on 13 shots before being replaced by Marc-Andre Fleury.
"We didn't have saves," coach Michel Therrien said. "We were behind the eight-ball early in the game."
Fleury, who got his first NHL game action since suffering a high ankle sprain Dec. 6 in Calgary, stopped 16 of 18 shots and said his ankle felt "pretty good" during his 37 minutes, 31 seconds of work.
"I was happy to get some time to play a little bit, to get back in there," he said. "It's been so long."
Fleury might have felt like a newcomer, but Hossa, Dupuis and Gill actually are. Their individual linescores:
Hossa -- one shot on goal, even plus-minus, 10:13 of ice time.
Dupuis -- one goal, two shots, minus-2, 16:43 of ice time.
Gill -- one shot, minus-2, 15:40 of ice time.
"That wasn't the start I wanted," Gill said. "I was a few steps late on some of those goals, and it cost us."
Marco Sturm put Boston in front to stay by steering a Chuck Kobasew shot between Conklin's legs at 9:49 of the first period, then lashed a slap shot by Conklin from near the top of the left circle at 12:07.
Zdeno Chara chased Conklin to the bench when his shot from the high slot caromed off the left leg of Penguins right winger Petr Sykora and past Conklin, and P.J. Axelsson welcomed Fleury by beating him from the front lip of the crease at 16:01.
After Dupuis picked up his 11th of the season at 13:03 of the third, David Krejci of the Bruins closed out the scoring when a Mark Stuart shot deflected in off his left skate at 17:49.
"That's a good team, and they capitalized on their chances," Therrien said. "They worked harder than us for their breaks. We didn't work hard enough to get breaks."
Fact is, the Penguins didn't do much of anything while slipping to 1-1-2 in their past four games.
"There's not much to say," Dupuis said. "The score says it all."