Goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury, unbeaten the last 3 weeks, has a badly sprained ankle that will keep him out of the Pittsburgh Penguins' lineup for up to 2 months.
Penguins forward Maxime Talbot has a similar injury and may be out a month. Both Fleury and Talbot were examined yesterday by a team doctor after the Penguins returned from an 8-day road trip. Neither played against the Flyers Tuesday night.
Fleury and Talbot have a more severe type of sprain that occurs in the ligaments of the upper ankle and takes longer to heal than a normal sprain. The team said the minimum Fleury will be out is 6 weeks, or until late January.
Losing Fleury and Talbot for an extended stretch is a major setback for the Penguins, who made the playoffs for the first time in 6 years last season but have hovered around the .500 mark this season. They take a 15-13-2 record into tonight's home game with Ottawa.
Coach Michel Therrien does not expect to add another goaltender, which means the Penguins will go with former Vancouver backup Dany Sabourin as their starter, with Ty Conklin behind him.
Sabourin, at least statistically, has played better than Fleury this season, but he was pulled after allowing five goals in two periods of the 8-2 loss to the Flyers; he is 6-5-1 with a 2.50 goals-against average. Fleury is 9-8-1, 2.90, with two shutouts; he last played on Dec. 6 in Calgary.
Talbot has seven goals and four assists in 24 games, with a plus-four rating that ties Ryan Malone as the highest among the Penguins' forwards, even though Talbot usually plays on the fourth line. His last game was Dec. 8 in Vanmcouver.
In last night's games:
* At Washington, with Alex Ovechkin on one team and Jaromir Jagr on the other, Mike Green and Joe Motzko stole the show.
Green scored 3:41 into overtime after posting two assists in regulation, and Motzko had his first two goals of the season as the Capitals beat the New York Rangers 5-4.
The winning goal came after New York's Brendan Shanahan stumbled and fell to the ice in the Capitals zone, allowing Brooks Laich to steal the puck and head the other way on an odd-man rush. Laich passed to Green, and the defenseman put the puck past Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist.
* At Buffalo, Ales Kotalik had a goal and assist, Ryan Miller made 28 saves, and the Sabres scored three goals in the second period to top the New York Islanders 5-3.
Nolan Pratt, Toni Lydman, Derek Roy and Jochen Hecht also scored for the Sabres, while Miroslav Satan, Richard Park and Mike Sillinger scored for New York, which has lost six of seven.
* At Atlanta, Milan Lucic scored the go-ahead goal with 3:47 remaining and Alex Auld won his third straight start for Boston, leading the Bruins to a 5-3 victory over the Thrashers. Mark Recchi scored twice in his first game with Atlanta, and Ilya Kovalchuk added his NHL-leading 24th goal.
* At Columbus, Kris Beech, Jared Boll, Manny Malhotra and Sergei Fedorov scored in the Blue Jackets' 4-1 win over the Colorado Avalanche. Jiri Novotny, activated before the game after missing the last eight due to a concusion, assisted on Beech's goal.
* At Anaheim, Mason Raymond had a goal and an assist, and Daniel Sedin and Jason Jaffrey also scored as the Vancouver Canucks edged the Ducks, 3-2. Chris Pronger had a goal and assist for Anaheim.
* At Raleigh, N.C., Dany Heatley had two goals and an assist, leading the Ottawa Senators to a 6-0 rout of the Carolina Hurricanes. Jason Spezza had a goal and two assists.
* At Chicago, Martin Havlat scored two goals and former Flyer Patrick Sharp scored his 14th goal and assisted on two others as the Blackhawks beat the Kings, 6-3. *