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Lapointe facing surgery on knee

HALIFAX, Nova Scotia -- Last season was a nightmare for Bruins right wing Marty Lapointe, who missed 17 games because of a broken foot and five more because of a groin strain. So far, this season hasn't started a whole lot better. Lapointe remained behind in Boston yesterday and will undergo arthroscopic knee surgery today.

According to general manager Mike O'Connell, Lapointe suffered a small tear in his knee cartilage during the club's Black and White intrasquad scrimmage Sept. 16 and although Lapointe kept practicing, the team's medical staff felt it was something that should be fixed sooner rather than later.

"He could continue to play," said O'Connell. "But if it flares up in midseason [necessitating surgery], he could be out for [a double-digit number] of games."

O'Connell said it was tough news for Lapointe, who desperately wants to get back to form after last year.

"He didn't want to get it done," said O'Connell. "But it's just a small, little tear and they can repair it right now. It's just one of those things."

Lapointe, 30, is expected to be sidelined for four weeks.

Pitt fall

The Bruins fell to 1-2-0-0 in the exhibition season, dropping a 3-2 decision to the Penguins, who were without Mario Lemieux. Matt Murley put Pittsburgh on the board at 2:24 of the opening period and Sergei Samsonov responded at 15:14. The next two belonged to the Penguins with defenseman Patrick Boileau scoring at 16:07 of the first and Rico Fata making it 3-1 at 15:07 of the second. Glen Murray converted a backhanded feed from Joe Thornton at 2:58 of the third during a power play for the Bruins. Goaltender Steve Shields played the first 40 minutes for Boston, stopping 22 of 25 shots. Andrew Raycroft came on in relief at the start of the third, turning back 11 shots. Marc-Andre Fleury, the No. 1 overall pick in the June entry draft, went the distance for the Penguins, stopping 28 shots . . . When the Bruins traded Jozef Stumpel back to the Kings on draft weekend, it opened up a second-line spot at center. However, no one has emerged as the obvious candidate so far. Andy Hilbert is a possibility, but he's been slowed by a groin pull. Kris Vernarsky is another possibility but O'Connell said he needs to step up his game. Another candidate who just arrived is Sergei Zinovjev, Boston's sixth pick (No. 73 overall) in the 2000 draft. He had immigration issues before he could come over from his native Russia. The most noticeable newcomer -- and perhaps the frontrunner to this point -- has been 18-year-old Patrice Bergeron. But whether he's ready to make the jump to the NHL from juniors so soon remains to be seen. "I don't know yet who can do it," said O'Connell. "We do have two very good centers in Brian Rolston and Joe Thornton. Who knows who that third guy is going to be or the fourth guy?"

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