Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Justin Schultz suffered an ugly lower body injury in the first period on the Penguins 4-3 shootout loss to the Montreal Canadiens, Saturday.
Schultz tangled with Montreal center Tomas Plekanec and his left leg turned awkwardly.
The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported Schultz left the Bell Center in a walking boot and crutches. Penguins head coach Mike Sullivan said no updates were available and Schultz would be evaluated when the team returned to Pittsburgh.
Schultz, 28, is in the second year of a three year contract with a $5.5 million average annual value. Should Schultz miss significant time, expect the Penguins to get as close to the cap limit before placing Schultz on IR, so the team may exceed the cap limit by as much as possible.
Schultz had four points in the first three games of the season. He played just over two minutes Saturday before his injury. The Penguins played with five defensemen for the remainder of the game.
Over the past two games, the Penguins scratched a regular NHL defenseman to make room for rookie defenseman Juuso Riikola. Olli Maatta was the scratch on Thursday and Jamie Oleksiak was the scratch, Saturday. If Schultz misses time, which seems likely, the Penguins will have five veteran NHL defenders in addition to Riikola and Chad Ruhwedel.
Pittsburgh Hockey Now will update the story has more is available.
Update 2. p.m.:
No official word yet from PIT on specifics of left leg/ankle injury suffered by Justin Schultz last night but speculation is it’s a fracture. Timeline TBD but it’s obviously going to be significant.
— Bob McKenzie (@TSNBobMcKenzie) October 14, 2018