The Tampa Bay Lighting lost leading scorer Martin St. Louis for at least two months after the speedy right winger suffered a broken right fibula against the Pittsburgh Penguins, Wednesday.
The injury occurred 90 seconds into the first period when St. Louis was shoved into the left corner boards by Penguins rookie defenceman Josef Melichar. St. Louis fell awkwardly, could not put weight on his leg and was in obvious pain as he was helped to the locker room.
"The doctor showed me the X-rays, but they will make a determination tomorrow on what has to be done," St. Louis said. "I've been told that it could take eight to 10 weeks, but if you have an operation, you might get ready sooner." No penalty was called on the play.
"I think Melichar's stick got caught in between his legs. I don't think he pitchforked him or anything, but his stick just jammed him," Lightning coach John Tortorella said. "I saw on the replay. I saw his ankle, the way it moved, and it was ugly."
St. Louis leads the Lightning with 16 goals and is second with 17 assists in 47 games. His plus-5 rating is tied for the best on a team that has scored an NHL-low 96 goals.
"It's very disappointing and very difficult," St. Louis said. "Obviously, with the team, we have been playing well. We had positioned ourselves for the playoffs. Then this has to happen. You work so hard for everything and it goes away in just seconds."
"You look at the bench after he's gone and you understand exactly what he means to the club," Tortorella added. "It felt naked on the bench with the amount of things he does for this team. It's a big blow to the team and it's a big blow to this kid, too."