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Pens, Dupuis Prepare For Maple Leafs

PITTSBURGH (93-7 The Fan) -- Questions surrounded the return of Pascal Dupuis to the Pittsburgh Penguins lineup before the season began.

At 35 and entering his 14th NHL season, Dupuis played Wednesday night for the first time since tearing an ACL last December. After waiting nearly two months, he had surgery to repair the tear and missed the final 43 games of the regular season and playoffs.

Many questioned if Duper would return. His absence left a hole on Pittsburgh's top line, where he played alongside center Sidney Crosby and left wing Chis Kunitz.

But after his performance in the season opening 6-4 win over Anaheim, Dupuis is back to his old self, registering a goal and three assists in the win.

The fact that he played left wing with center Brandon Sutter and right wing Evgeni Malkin while doing it was even more surprising.

"It was a long time coming," Dupuis said. "There's games like that where everything is rolling and it seemed to be one of those. It's definitely been a while, but this one, just coming back in the first game, it's pretty big."

As far as improving on what was an excellent first start, Dupuis is already planning for Saturday night at Air Canada Centre against the Maple Leafs. He mentioned his penalty killing could be strengthened and also that he thinks his agility isn't quite where it can be. But the satisfaction of returning to the ice the way he did is a start.

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