Penguins lose game, Hossa to injury
BOSTON - So much for the afterglow.
The Penguins were drubbed by the Boston Bruins, 5-1, Thursday in their first game since well-received moves at the NHL trade deadline - and they were burned by another injury to a star player.
Right wing Marian Hossa, their star acquisition prior to Tuesday's deadline, did not finish the game due to a sprained right medial collateral ligament. He is expected to miss at least a week.
"It is disappointing," Hossa said, assessing his injury to an accidental knee-to-knee collision with Boston forward Glen Murray in the second period. "Injuries happen. It's just tough luck."
Landing Hossa and forward Pascal Dupuis from Atlanta, and veteran defenseman Hal Gill from Toronto, were moves roundly praised by pundits as ones that elevated the Penguins into the realm of legitimate Stanley Cup contenders.
The anointed Penguins' play last night at TD Banknorth Garden failed to resonate with the Bruins, a likely Eastern Conference playoff team.
Frankly, the Penguins did not much care for themselves, either.
"Not good," defenseman Darryl Sydor said. "It's been creeping into our game the last two weeks. We've got lucky, but (last night) it bit us.
"There are games we shouldn't have won the last few weeks, but we earned points. I'm not saying we are pressing any panic buttons."
The Penguins, 36-22-7 with 79 points, are running low on guys to push anything.
They entered yesterday with 188 man-games lost to injury, and played a 19th consecutive without captain Sidney Crosby (high right ankle sprain). They are 10-5-4 sans Crosby, but coach Michel Therrien said his club is tiring in the wake of playing with "half a lineup."
"Every time we see the light at the end of the tunnel - bang!" Therrien said. "It's, like, we can't wait to play with our team. We don't have our team right now."
Center Evgeni Malkin, who entered the game with a league-leading 84 points, failed to record a point for only the fourth contest without Crosby. Malkin was a minus-3 against Boston.
Goaltender Ty Conklin was chased at 2:21 of the second period after a long-range shot by Boston defenseman Zdeno Chara deflected off the stick of right wing Petr Sykora. The Bruins were ahead, 3-0, and Conklin was replaced by Marc-Andre Fleury.
It was Fleury's first appearance in an NHL game since Dec. 6, when he left a game in Calgary early with a high right ankle sprain that would ultimately sideline him for nine weeks. He stopped 16 of 18 shots last night.
Conklin allowed three goals on 13 shots. He was coming off a career-best 50-save effort in a victory in New York on Tuesday.
Dupuis tallied at 13:03 of the third for his 11th goal of the season and first with the Penguins, who allowed 31 shots. They have surrendered 30 or more shots in eight of 12 games.
"It's attention to details, and we've been getting outshot a lot," Sydor said. "It's a learning experience. We have (17) games left. If we learn from this, fine. If we don't, it's going to be a problem.
"One thing I know about our guys is we learn. That's not going to be a problem."
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