Fleury has high ankle sprain, could miss two months

PITTSBURGH -- Goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury, unbeaten the
last three weeks, has a sprained ankle that will keep him out of
the Pittsburgh Penguins' lineup for up to two months.

Penguins forward Maxime Talbot has a similar injury and may be
out a month. Both Fleury and Talbot were examined Wednesday by a
team doctor after the Penguins returned from an eight-day road

Fleury and Talbot have a severe sprain that occurs in the
ligaments of the upper ankle and takes longer to heal. The team
said the minimum Fleury will be out is six weeks, or until late

Fleury was injured in last week's victory over the Calgary Flames when he fell awkwardly outside the crease.

Losing Fleury and Talbot for an extended stretch is a major
setback for the Penguins, who made the playoffs for the first time
in six years last season but have hovered around the .500 mark this
season. They take a 15-13-2 record into Thursday night's home game
against Ottawa.

The injuries occurred during one of the busiest stretches of the
season, with Thursday's game being the Penguins' sixth in 11 days.
Even if Fleury can return in late January, he would miss 19 games --
or nearly one-quarter of the schedule.

Coach Michel Therrien does not expect the club to add another
goaltender, which means the Penguins will go with former Vancouver
backup Dany Sabourin as their starter.

Until losing Tuesday, the Penguins were coming off a
franchise-first three-game sweep of Edmonton, Calgary and Vancouver
during a western Canada swing and had won seven of eight.

Sabourin, at least statistically, has played better than Fleury
this season, but Sabourin was pulled after allowing five goals in
two periods of an 8-2 loss to the Philadelphia Flyers on Tuesday
night. He is 6-5-1 with a 2.50 goals-against average.

Fleury is 9-8-1 with two shutouts and a 2.90 goals-against
average, but had begun playing much better before getting hurt
early in the first period of a 3-2 shootout victory in Calgary last

The 23-year-old Fleury -- the No. 1 pick in the 2003 draft -- has
won his last four starts, allowing only four goals and making 84
saves. He hasn't lost since Nov. 21. Fleury's recent play was a
turnaround from a mid-November slump in which he lost four
consecutive decisions and gave up 19 goals in four-plus games.

Fleury had a breakthrough season a year ago, going 40-16-9 after
previously winning only 17 of his first 71 NHL games. He tied with
Buffalo's Ryan Miller and Calgary's Miikka Kiprusoff for third
place among NHL goalies with 40 wins and trailed only Martin
Brodeur (48 wins) of New Jersey and Roberto Luongo (47 wins) of

Talbot has seven goals and four assists in 24 games, with a
plus-four rating that ties with Ryan Malone as the highest among
the Penguins' forwards -- even though Talbot usually plays on the
fourth line.

Talbot had two goals in four games beginning Dec. 3 after being
out for five games with the same type of ankle injury.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.