Ryan Wilson: Penguins Suffer First Loss of Johnston Era Via Seguin/Benn Heroics

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This may come as a surprise to some, but the Mike Johnston era was never going to end without a few defeats mixed in.

The Dallas Stars capped off an impressive comeback with some late game heroics by their superstar players.

You can see why the Stars are being discussed as one of the better teams in the better Western Conference.

This was evident even without a key player like Valeri Nichushkin in the lineup

The Penguins kept the Seguin/Benn duo in check for about 55 minutes but they provided a great example of how you can usually tell the difference between very good players and superstar players. Superstar players can go dormant for large stretches of a game but very rarely will they not leave some kind of positive imprint on the game. Five minutes is all it took for those two player to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat.

Tyler Seguin made contact with Marc-Andre Fleury on a scoring rush and in my opinion was wrongly charged with goaltender interference. What looked like the tying goal was waved off. The Stars did not mope about it, they got pissed off and scored the game tying goal shortly thereafter anyways. Jamie Benn scored the tying goal and Tyler Seguin scored the dramatic power play goal with three seconds left.

I thought the game was very entertaining and it is disappointing that these two teams won’t play each other more often. The star power is awesome and hockey is about watching the best players do what makes them the best, but the story of this game is the Pascal Dupuis situation.

Any time a player gets taken off on a stretcher it is a deflating situation, especially for the team who has the daily interpersonal relationships with that player. This is a situation where the human element most certainly plays a role.

So far the early returns on Pascal Dupuis seem encouraging

Dupuis had numbness in his arm. Feeling has started to come back.

— Josh Yohe (@JoshYohe_Trib) October 17, 2014

That doesn’t mean the incident was any less scary

Sportsnet said that the puck that Letang shot that hit Dupuis was going 75 miles an hour. 🙁

— Pensburgh (@Pensburgh) October 17, 2014

Edit 11:11 AM

Awesome news

#Pens Pascal Dupuis is on the ice in warm up gear skating

— Pittsburgh Penguins (@penguins) October 17, 2014

Over the summer time and into this present season we have had many discussions about potential Penguins trades and what they should target. There have been many valid arguments for and against a plethora of different options.

One thing is for certain is that you can see why the Penguins need to trade for another top 6 winger. If Dupuis were to miss time things get thin really fast. I would rather load up on the forward side of things and have a trickle down effect than to leave the super star centers with not enough to properly work with.

Nobody, I repeat, nobody in the Penguins system can replace Paul Martin if he were to be traded. However, the void would be more properly replaced internally (Despres, Harrington, Dumoulin, Pouliot) than if the Penguins had to fill a top 6 forward position.

Situations like last night are why third line guys in the mold of Lee Stempniak are so valuable, especially at 900k. You don’t want to play them in a top six role on a permanent basis but they are more than capable of hopping up in a pinch.

Other game notes:

Kris Letang looks great so far this year. I think it is safe to say that his cap hit is not going to be the albatross that many were inferring.

The Penguins power play is legit. It makes me crazy and upset that the Penguins prior regime was so negligent in giving Sidney Crosby a right handed player in the slot to feed on the power play. It opens up so many options. If the opposition leaves Hornqvist open Sid will feed him one timers. If the PK slides over to cover him, Sid can sneak passes through the box to Evgeni Malkin. Their power play is simple and it allows their ridiculous puck skill to shine. Simple is better. My only concern with the Penguins power play is the human element of the referees. If the Penguins keep up their dominance I could see the officials being less judicious in awarding the Penguins powerplay opportunities as a subconscious effort to not have a direct impact in the game. That might be reading into things a little bit too much but refs are human and I think there is certainly potential for that to happen a few times this year.

The Penguins fourth line has played pretty good. A major part of the reason has been coaching. Instead of burying the fourth line with defensive zone starts all the time Mike Johnston has instead started guys like Craig Adams and Zach Sill in the offensive zone to at least give them a chance at finding success.

so these Penguins are a little bit different than we’ve seen over recent years (via @war_on_ice) pic.twitter.com/42FOdtIEKC

— Mike Darnay (@MikeDarnay) October 17, 2014

The result has been the fourth line getting a little bit of offensive zone time. This has allowed Johnston to sneak out Crosby or Malkin mid shift to take advantage of the territorial play.

Evgeni Malkin and Sidney Crosby had some faux pas on the ice but it happens to every player in the NHL. They still do more great than bad. Malkin had some dubious turnovers and Crosby took a careless penalty that led to the power play at the end of the game. Oh well. I’m sure they won’t dwell on it and I’m not going to either. They’ll continue to do awesome things tomorrow night against the Islanders.

Speaking of those New York Islanders. They are 4-0 and I believe they are the second best team in the division. They are no joke. Penguins will have their hands full again on Saturday.

That’s all for now

Thanks for reading!

Follow me on twitter Follow @GunnerStaal

This post originally appeared on www.hockeybuzz.com and we thank them for permission to rebroadcast it here.

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