The Pittsburgh Penguins and Montreal Canadiens series has taken on a few bumps and bruises already, with both teams losing key players early on.
The Habs will be without star defenceman Andrei Markov after he suffered an injury during the first period of the first game of the playoff series. He was hit by Matt Cooke and fell awkwardly. When Markov was helped off the ice, he wasn’t putting any weight on his right leg.
The Canadiens have gone 14-20-3 without Markov, so this could be a significant blow to the team. He has since returned to Montreal for treatment.
The Penguins will be without Jordan Staal. He is also out indefinitely after getting cut by Montreal defenceman P.K. Subban’s skate. Staal underwent surgery on Friday night to repair the severed tendon on the top of his foot, but things might be looking up as head coach Dan Bylsma seemed optimistic. It is possible that Staal could join the team again should the Penguins make it to the Conference Finals.
The injury suffered by Staal is similar to the one suffered by Markov at the beginning of the regular season. Markov missed 35 games.
In any event, both teams will clearly miss these players. Staal’s contributions on the penalty kill are considerable and the team will have to work hard to fill the hole left behind by the Selke Trophy nominee’s absence.
The Habs find themselves in quite the predicament, too, and will need to shuffle the deck to fill Markov’s spot. It’s already been announced that both Marc-Andre Bergeron and P.K. Subban will play as defencemen.
Posted by Jordan Richardson.