The Pittsburgh Penguins' blue line has suffered a significant loss, as defenseman Justin Schultz underwent surgery to repair a fracture of his lower left leg that he suffered in the first period of their 4-3 shootout loss at Montreal on Saturday.
The estimated recovery time is four months, general manager Jim Rutherford said.
Against the Canadiens, Schultz played the puck deep in his own zone. Montreal center Tomas Plekanec checked him in the corner, sending Schultz awkwardly to the ice, his left leg bending under him. He was assisted off the ice by two teammates.
This is how Justin Schultz fractured his leg. Surgery. Out four months. pic.twitter.com/9COrH9aBUh— Bob Pompeani (@KDPomp) October 15, 2018
He had surgery on Sunday at UPMC Presbyterian.
Schultz has been one of the Penguins' steadiest defensemen since 2016, when they acquired him from the Edmonton Oilers for a third-round pick. He was a member of their two Stanley Cup-winning teams and averaged 19:31 in ice time in 63 games last season. He contributes offensively, including second-unit power play time.
His versatility allows him to be plugged in with different defensive partners. Schultz had seen time with both Jack Johnson and Jamie Oleksiak this season. The Penguins' top pairing of defensemen is Kris Letang and Brian Dumoulin.