Penguins notebook: Dupuis’ absence will alter roles on penalty kill
The Penguins badly missed Pascal Dupuis on the penalty kill last season following his season-ending knee injury Dec. 23.
In the first half of last season, with Dupuis in the lineup, the Penguins killed 87.5 percent of their penalties, which had them on pace for the second-best season in franchise history.
Without Dupuis in the second half of the season, the Penguins killed only 82.5 percent of their penalties.
The Penguins killed 88 percent of their penalties with Dupuis in the lineup this season.
“We are definitely going to miss Duper out there,” said center Zach Sill, who was mentioned by coach Mike Johnston as a player who could see his penalty-killing time increased with Dupuis out.
“But one good thing about our team is that we have a lot of guys who are good at a lot of different jobs. We’ve got guys who can step in and get the job done.”
Johnston said Sidney Crosby and left wing Chris Kunitz likely will see their penalty-killing time increase, especially late in penalties. Sill and right wing Blake Comeau will see additional time on the penalty kill.
“Duper is a really good penalty killer,” right wing Craig Adams said. “It’s hard to fill those minutes. But we’ve got guys who can do it who are waiting for a chance. There is some depth there. Hopefully we’ll be OK.”
A look at the standings
The Penguins entered the weekend with a three-point lead on the Islanders, who they play Friday and Saturday.
“It’s probably a little early to be looking at the standings and worrying about where everyone is,” right wing Steve Downie said. “But we know the Islanders are a good team. We have respect for them, and we know what big games these are.”
Defenseman Simon Despres was a healthy scratch for the first time this season Friday, giving way to defenseman Robert Bortuzzo to play alongside Rob Scuderi.
Bortuzzo was a healthy scratch in Montreal on Tuesday.