The Pittsburgh Penguins expected to have one of their top offensive players return to the lineup this week. Turns out they'll have to wait a while longer.
The Penguins begin a three-game road trip against the Dallas Stars on Wednesday night without Jordan Staal, who anticipated playing soon after missing the first 12 games with an infection in his right foot.
Instead, the center needs surgery to repair a broken right hand suffered in practice Monday and will miss an additional six weeks.
"It's disappointing on a couple of levels," coach Dan Bylsma said. "But mostly it's personal for Jordan, because he's had a difficult offseason and training camp. And then to get to the point where you're looking to coming back to play, having to deal with another injury is disappointing."
Pittsburgh (6-5-1) could have used Staal on its struggling power play unit, which has gone 0 for 22 over the last five games.
That didn't help as the Penguins managed five goals during a three-game losing streak, but red-hot Brent Johnson helped put a stop to the slide Saturday, making 33 saves in a 3-0 win over Carolina.
While Marc-Andre Fleury has struggled to a 1-5-0 start, Johnson has gone 5-0-1 with a 1.16 goals-against average.
"My confidence is feeling pretty good," Johnson said. "I'm feeling pretty good."
Sidney Crosby had two assists against the Hurricanes to increase his team-leading point total to 15, while Pascal Dupuis scored two goals.
"I think everyone's got a lot of pride and high expectations of each other and individually, too," Crosby said. "That was a great way to respond."
Dallas (6-4-0) ended a three-game skid of its own Saturday, beating Buffalo 4-0 behind backup Andrew Raycroft.
Making his first start of the season, Raycroft stopped 34 shots in place of Kari Lehtonen, who has lost four of five with a 3.42 GAA after starting the season 4-0-0.
The Stars improved to 1/3 on their season-high six-game homestand.
"We had to stop the bleeding at home," winger Brenden Morrow said. "It was good to nip this and get rolling in the right direction again. Special teams were huge. (Raycroft) made some timely stops to keep the momentum and the special teams did what they hadn't been able to do the last few games -- capitalize on the power play and close the door on the penalty kill."
Brad Richards had two assists to give him a team-high 14 points, and James Neal scored his fifth goal of the season.
Pittsburgh has beaten Dallas five straight times, winning 6-3 on March 6 behind Crosby's two goals and an assist. Crosby has recorded four goals and three assists in three career games against the Stars.
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