The Pittsburgh Penguins are atop the Metropolitan Division with eight wins in their last 10 games. Sidney Crosby has been scoring at a remarkable rate.
And yet there could be tough times ahead for the defending Stanley Cup champions.
Kris Letang, the Penguins’ best defenseman, averaging more than 26 minutes of ice time per game, has been placed on injured reserve with a lower-body injury that is expected to force him to miss a couple of weeks.
Pittsburgh has since recalled Chad Ruhwedel from the American Hockey League. Fellow Pittsburgh blue liner Trevor Daley, who was hurt during Friday’s OT loss, is now out week to week with an upper-body injury, coach Mike Sullivan said on Saturday.
Both Letang and Daley play more than 20 minutes a night. That’s also a combined 30 points between them coming out of the lineup for right now because of injury.
The next few weeks could present some difficult times for a Penguins team that had returned to form as a scoring juggernaut through the first two months of the season. At the very least, it provides a test of depth on the blue line, while putting added pressure on Brian Dumoulin, Olli Maatta, Ian Cole and Justin Schultz.
The Penguins face the Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday.