It’s been the same story all season with Pascal Dupuis, but one we’ll gladly keep writing.
Like he always does, the Penguins winger produced a solid all-around performance on Wednesday at CONSOL Energy Center – putting his versatility on display in Pittsburgh’s 5-0 win over the New York Islanders in Game 1 of their Eastern Conference quarterfinal series.
Dupuis, who finished the regular season with 20 goals in 48 games, is a leader in the Penguins locker room – a respected veteran and overall fantastic human being who always keeps the mood light and gets along with everyone – so it’s fitting he led the way in the win.
Dupuis scored twice in Pittsburgh’s rout of the Islanders for his second career two-goal playoff game – the last occurring on May 8, 2003 against the Vancouver Canucks when he was a member of the Minnesota Wild.
“It feels good,” he said of his game. “You want to help your team win. At the same time, you win 1-0 in overtime or you win 5-0, it’s one win. We’ve just got to get ready for the next game here.”
Both goals were the result of hard work around the front of the net and not quitting on the puck. His first came in the opening period, when Craig Adams doggedly collected a puck at the side of the net and found Jarome Iginla in the slot. Iginla's shot was stopped, but Dupuis was able to put it in the open net with goalie Evgeni Nabokov out of position to give the Penguins a 2-0 lead.
Dupuis’ next goal came in the next period on a shift with Beau Bennett and Jussi Jokinen. He battled to claim a rebound just outside the blue paint, worked it to his backhand and tucked it past a sprawled Nabokov to put Pittsburgh up 4-0.
“He played well,” center Brandon Sutter said. “He goes to the net and got a few you could probably call more greasy goals, but those are the goals you need this time of year. He goes to the net hard, he’s been doing it all year and we expect him to keep doing it.”
Both goals came with two different sets of linemates, showcasing the Penguins’ impressive depth and their ability to work well with anyone that goes over the boards.
“Lines get shuffled around with the power play, with penalty killing,” Dupuis said. “You get out there with different guys throughout the game. But we play one way. It doesn’t really matter who we play with on this team, anyway. We do have a really deep team and anybody you play with, you play with a great player.”
Not only did Dupuis score goals; he showcased his shorthanded prowess by helping kill off all four Islanders' power plays during the game – seeing 3:20 minutes on the disadvantage.
“They do have a good power play,” he said. “Guys were blocking shots, ‘Flower’ (Marc-Andre Fleury) played great for us and it obviously helps quite a bit on penalty killing when your goalie is hot like that.”
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