PITTSBURGH — Those who saw the Justin Schultz injury Saturday night in Montreal probably won’t be surprised, but the news from the Pittsburgh Penguins is certainly impactful.
The defenseman had surgery Monday to repair a broken lower left leg after he fell awkwardly in the first period, Saturday. He is expected to miss four months, which would get him back in time for the stretch run if all goes well.
Schultz has proven to be one of the team’s steadiest two-way defensemen. He and Kris Letang have been almost interchangeable on the top power-play unit.
It was unclear from practice Monday at PPG Paints Arena what defensive pairings the Penguins have up their sleeve in Schultz’s absence, beyond the top two of Brian Dumoulin and Letang.
The Penguins kept the same forward lines at practice:
Derick Brassard-Sidney Crosby-Jake Guentzel
Carl Hagelin-Evgeni Malkin-Phil Kessel
Bryan Rust-Riley Sheahan-Patric Hornqvist
Dominik Simon-Matt Cullen-Daniel Sprong
Matt Murray and Casey DeSmith were the goalies. Tristan Jarry, who was on emergency recall, was returned to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton of the American Hockey League, and the Penguins recalled center Derek Grant.
The team spent most of practice working on zone entries, defensemen engagement – essentially reinforcing the scheme. More updates to follow.