Pittsburgh Penguins goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury will be out of action for six to eight weeks with asevere ankle sprain.
Pittsburgh made the announcement after Fleury, the No. 1 pick in the 2003 NHL draft, was evaluated by team physician Dr. Chip Burke on Wednesday morning
Fleury, 23, suffered the injury — called a "high ankle" sprain, involving the ligaments above the ankle joint — in Pittsburgh's 3-2 shootout win over the Calgary Flames on Dec. 6 when he stumbled awkwardly outside his crease.
The native of Sorel, Que., has won each of his last four decisions to improve to 9-8-1 with a 2.90 goals-against average and .902 save percentage in 21 appearances this season.
With Fleury sidelined, backup netminder Dany Sabourin is expected to handle the majority of the goalkeeping duties.
Sabourin, who played one game for Pittsburgh during the 2005-06 NHL campaign, signed with the Penguins as a free agent this past summer after spending last season with the Vancouver Canucks.
"My goal is to be No. 1, so I don't want to sit down every game," Sabourin recently told CBCSports.ca. "When I came back here [to Pittsburgh], they were telling me I was going to play around 20 games. That's better than last year, so I think that's improving.
"I think you have to go step by step to be a No. 1 goalie, and that's one of the steps right now, to get more games than last year."
Sabourin sports a 6-5-1 record with a 2.50 GAA in 14 appearances for the Penguins this season.
Also on Wednesday, Pittsburgh announced that centre Maxime Talbot is also recovering from a high ankle sprain and will be out two to four weeks.
Talbot, who normally plays on the fourth line, has seven goals and
four assists in 24 games.