The Pittsburgh Penguins are currently in the midst of a seven game winning streak, but extending that longer will be a real task now that they'll be without their best defenseman for a while. Coach Mike Sullivan announced Kris Letang is injured
Coach Sullivan said Kris Letang has an lower-body injury and will be out a couple of weeks. #Pens -MC— Pens Inside Scoop (@PensInsideScoop) December 15, 2016
David Backes did crush Letang hard (and cleanly) last night along and into the boards which made for what looks like a rough landing. But Letang was able to still play a whopping 9:10 of time in the 3rd period, crazy on it's own but more considering he might have been dealing with an injury. No word if this is the play where the injury occurred but it still doesn't look very pretty.
David Backes with a huge hit on Kris Letang #NHLBruins pic.twitter.com/S3AH9aXcuZ— Weekend at Bergy's (@weekendatbergys) December 15, 2016
Letang previously missed 5 games in October. Letang leads the Penguins with 26:04 played per game this season. Considering only one other player on the team (Trevor Daley; 20:57) is even above the 20 minute mark, this will be a major loss that players like Daley, Brian Dumoulin and Olli Maatta will all probably have to skate more minutes and perform well in them and perhaps and opportunity for more minutes for Ian Cole and the resurgent Justin Schultz as well.
Pittsburgh is down to 6 healthy defensemen and probably will have to make a recall from the minors soon. This could be a wonderful chance for top prospect Derrick Pouliot to get an extended look at a place in the NHL lineup.
Either way, no one player can replace what Letang brings to the table, the defense will just have to galvanize around the players that they do have, and hopefully everyone can chip in a little more in order to keep the Penguins season rolling as smoothly as possible until Letang can return.