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Staal sidelined


The Penguins suffered a serious blow when center Jordan Staal, a finalist for the Selke Trophy as the NHL’s best defensive forward, left in the second period of Game 1 of their Eastern Conference semifinal with Montreal.
The fourth-year veteran has never missed a game due to injury – playing in 358 consecutive since being a healthy scratch as a rookie in December 2006 – but did not return and was seen leaving Mellon Arena on crutches.
That’s not a good sign for Staal, who had played 327 regular-season and 55 playoff games without getting injured. And it could be problematic for the Penguins, as their strength up the middle is a major playoff advantage.
“We like having three big centers down the middle,” said Penguins coach Dan Bylsma, who called Craig Adams, Max Talbot and Marc Letestu potential candidates to replace Staal in centering the third line, if necessary.
“Obviously, we would have to make an adjustment if he’s not able to get back into the lineup for Game 2. We have centermen who are more role-playing centermen to fill that spot, but it would certainly change the matchup situations. Jordan is used a lot against other teams’ top lines, so that’s where there would be an adjustment we would have to make.”
Bylsma would not disclose the nature or seriousness of the injury, only saying that it would be further evaluated.



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