Just when the Pittsburgh Penguins thought it was safe to go back on the ice. The Penguins suffered the loss of five forwards and one defenseman in the first 14 games and may have suffered another huge loss Monday night when top defenseman Kris Letang was injured during an innocuous third-period collision with giant Boston Bruins defenseman Zdeno Chara five minutes into the third period.
Letang played one more short shift before he left the game.
“He’s out with a lower body injury. He continues to be evaluated and we’ll have more information tomorrow,” Penguins head coach Mike Sullivan said following the Penguins 6-4 loss to the Boston Bruins.
Letang already played over 17 minutes with one assist and six shots on goal when he left the game. The Penguins have already been without Evgeni Malkin, Nick Bjugstad and Alex Galchenyuk for more than 10 games. They figure to be without Patric Hornqvist who was termed out “longer-term”; on Sunday, too.
“You never want to hear your guy is injured at any point. This is obviously a deep organization,” said Nick Bjugstad. “You saw what the young guys did when they came up, just the culture and mentality that’s in the room. If everyone buys in it works out. Hopefully, Tanger [sic] is healthy and he’s OK.”
Kris Letang is the top Penguins defenseman and frequent point on the Penguins power play, though he was placed on the mid-wall position Saturday against Edmonton and in practice on Sunday. He spoke with PHN about the challenges of playing a forward’s position on the man-advantage but was back at the point for an early power play on Monday night.
Juuso Riikola, who has played four games this season is the Penguins seventh defenseman and played the right side last season, but is a left-handed shot and has played the left side, this season. Chad Ruhwedel is the Penguins’ other spare defenseman and is a right-hander.