|With Sidney Crosby injured, burden will fall to Evgeni Malkin|
|Written by Admin|
|Friday, 18 January 2008 23:23|
Crosby badly sprained an ankle while ramming into the boards in the first period, and the Andre Roy-led Tampa Bay Lightning took advantage of his absence for a 3-0 victory over the Penguins on Friday night.
``Right now, since we lost our leader and our captain, I'm going to try my best and raise my game,'' said Malkin, who is second on the team with 52 points. ``I'm going to try to do a little more.''
His teammates will have to as well. The Penguins, had won six in a row at home and were 9-0-1 in their previous 10, looked listless without Crosby and the spark was gone from the sellout crowd.
In Friday night's other NHL games, it was: Buffalo 10, Atlanta 1; Carolina 7, Edmonton 2; Chicago 2, Colorado 1 in a shootout; Calgary 6, Los Angeles 1; Anaheim 4, Minnesota 2; and Florida 2, New Jersey 1.
Malkin has 12 goals and three assists in his past 13 games. He'll need to keep that up until the Penguins' captain comes back if they want to remain near the top of the Atlantic Division.
The timetable for Crosby's return is unclear.
He was diagnosed with a high ankle sprain, an injury to the large ligament that connects the two biggest bones in the lower leg, the tibia and fibula. The injury is more serious than the traditional twisted ankle and can sideline an athlete for a month or more. Penguins goalie Marc-Andre Fleury has been out since Dec. 6 with the same injury.
``Obviously, it is a huge loss,'' said coach Michel Therrien, who doesn't know how long Crosby will be out. ``There is no team that can deal with losing the best player in the league. He is the heart of the team and he is our leader. We are going to face adversity and we are going to have to battle through it.''
Until now, Crosby has missed only four games to injury during his three-season NHL career. The Penguins' record without him is 0-2-2.
``To see a guy like that go down and not come back, it's tough,'' Penguins forward Colby Armstrong said. ``Guys are going to have to take it upon themselves as a team to fill in. But I don't know if you can fill a spot like that.''
Sabres 10, Thrashers 1
In Buffalo, N.Y., Drew Stafford and Derek Roy had hat tricks and Buffalo ended a 10-game winless skid.
Thomas Vanek, Jochen Hecht and Ales Kotalik each had a goal and two assists for the Sabres, who got off to a fast start with four goals in the first period. Stafford added two assists for a career-high five points.
Colin Stuart scored for Atlanta.
Hurricanes 7, Oilers 2
In Raleigh, N.C., All-Star Eric Staal scored three goals, one on a penalty shot, and Carolina snapped its season-worst four-game losing streak.
Rod Brind'Amour had a goal and two assists, Sergei Samsonov and Chad LaRose both had a goal and an assist and Tim Gleason also scored for Carolina, which broke it open with five third-period goals.
Andrew Cogliano had a goal and an assist, and Patrick Thoresen scored for the Oilers.
Blackhawks 2, Avalanche 1, SO
In Denver, Robert Lang and Patrick Kane scored in a shootout for Chicago.
Milan Hejduk scored the only shootout goal for Colorado, which had its three-game winning streak end.
Kane scored for the Blackhawks in regulation, and Patrick Lalime had 22 saves.
Andrew Brunette scored his ninth goal of the season and goalie Jose Theodore had 22 saves in his seventh straight start.
Flames 6, Kings 1
In Calgary, Alberta, Daymond Langkow scored three goals to help Calgary move into first place in its division.
Langkow scored once in each period, finishing the third hat trick of his career by deflecting Adrian Aucoin's slap shot 2:03 into the third period, drawing a shower of caps onto the ice.
Craig Conroy, Stephane Yelle, and Matthew Lombardi also scored for Calgary, which has picked up points in 11 of its past 12 home games.
Ducks 4, Wild 2.
In St. Paul, Minn, Todd Bertuzzi scored twice and Ryan Getzlaf had three assists.
Corey Perry scored his 26th goal, and the Ducks won their season-high seventh straight game after surviving a second-period surge by the Wild. Since luring defenseman Scott Niedermayer out of semiretirement and trading for veteran center Doug Weight, Anaheim is 12-2-2.
Chris Pronger also scored for the Ducks.
Panthers 2, Devils 1
In Newark, N.J., Radek Dvorak and David Booth scored early in the third period.
Backup goalie Craig Anderson made 31 saves and the Panthers ended a three-game losing streak and gave Jacques Martin his 500th coaching victory.
Travis Zajac scored for the Devils, who had won their past six home games against the Panthers.