The Pittsburgh Penguins lost much more than a game on Friday night. They lost their Captain and one of the league’s leading scorers as Sidney Crosby was injured in the 3-0 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning. The high ankle sprain that has plagued the Penguins this season appears to have claimed another victim, as Crosby slid akwardly into the end boards early in the 1st period. Crosby gingerly tried to put weight on his right foot as he made his way off the ice, and ultimately had to be helped down the runway into the locker room. He was unable to return to the game, and in the post-game wrap-up it was announced he will miss 4-weeks. A high ankle sprain is an injury to the large ligament that connects the two biggest bones in the lower leg, the tibia and fibula. A more serious injury than the traditional twisted ankle, it is not uncommon for a high ankle sprain to sideline an player for a month or more. Max Talbot and Marc-Andre Fleury have both spent extended time on the Injured Reserve list this season with the same injury.
In the 1st period, the Tampa Bay Lightning struck quickly as Kyle Wanvig put a wrister past Ty Conklin at 4:34. Andre Roy and Chris Gratton were credited with the assists. Three minutes later at 7:37, Sidney Crosby was slashed by Paul Ranger as he drove to the net with the puck. After the slash, Crosby fell to the ice and took another swipe at the puck as he slid hard into the endboards with his attention focused on the puck. His right foot got caught akwardly and twisted under as it took the brunt of collision with the boards. At first, it didn’t appear to be anything more than a tweaked ankle. But as Crosby made his way towards the bench, it became clear that the injury was more serious and he was unable to put any appreciable weight on it. As he entered the tunnel to the Penguins locker room, he appeared to be in much more pain and had to be helped down the runway by a couple of staff members. At 10:51, the Lightning struck again on backhander by Chris Gratton that beat Ty Conklin 5-hole. Andre Roy and Shane O’Brien picked up the assists. The Lightning outshot the Penguins 16-10 in the first, taking advantage of multiple bad turnovers by the Penguins. Both teams were 0-for-2 on the power play.
There was no scoring in the 2nd-period as the Penguins battled without their Captain to outshoot the Lightning 10-4. The Penguins could not solve the excellent goaltending of Johan Holmqvist, who picked up the game’s 2nd star.
In the 3rd, the Lightning poured it on again outshooting the Penguins 14-7 with one getting past Ty Conklin to seal the fate of the game. Andre Roy scored for the Lightning at 5:32 with assists by Brad Richards and Martin St. Louis to put the game out of reach for the Penguins. The Penguins killed off 2-shorthanded situations in the third and had no power play opportunities of their own. Andre Roy’s goal gave him 3-points on the night (1G, 2A) and the game’s 1st star. Vinny Lecavalier was held pointless for the 4th consecutive game.
- VIDEO: Video Highlights
- VIDEO: Post-Game Press Conference w/Coach Therrien
- VIDEO: Post-Game Locker Room Interviews
- PHOTOS: In-Game Photos
- AUDIO: Post-Game Rink Rat Report
- AUDIO: Mike Lange Highlights
- NHL OFFICIAL: Game Rosters
- NHL OFFICIAL: Game Summary
- NHL OFFICIAL: Boxscore
- NHL OFFICIAL: Play-by-Play
Sidney Crosby will be re-examined Saturday by team doctors. It seems certain that he will miss the Jan. 27 All-Star game in Atlanta. Crosby has only missed 4-games in his first 2-seasons, and the team is 0-2-2 without him in the lineup. The loss is the first regulation loss in nearly a month (Dec 21st against the Islanders), and is the first regulation for Ty Conklin.
The Penguins travel to Montreal to take on the Canadiens on Saturday night before returning home to host the Capitals on Monday night. With Crosby most certainly out of the lineup, the Penguins will be looking for more contributions from the likes of Jordan Staal, Ryan Malone, Colby Armstrong, Max Talbot and Tyler Kennedy. These players will have to really step up their games to compensate for the loss of the league’s most potent around player.