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Having scored 43 points in the first 42 games of the 2013-14 season, Chris Kunitz was among the hottest players in the league at the halfway mark of the schedule.
Since then, however, his production has dropped off considerably, as he was held scoreless for the Olympic break-shortened month of February and has tallied just six points in his last 16 games.
While fatigue from playing for Team Canada in the Winter Olympic tournament in Sochi may be partly to blame, the loss of linemate Pascal Dupuis on December 23 can't be understated.
Without Dupuis' speed and knack for forechecking and forcing turnovers, Kunitz has had to spend more time on the perimeter and in the corners digging out pucks instead of in the slot or in front of the net where he's at his most effective.
Since the arrival and insertion of Lee Stempniak into the Dupuis' spot, Kunitz has been more productive with two multipoint games in March—his first since January 23.
With Evgeni Malkin out for a couple of weeks, the Pens' top line is going to be counted on to carry the team offensively, but that won't happen unless Chris Kunitz returns to his early-season form.