The Pittsburgh Penguins lost Sidney Crosby on Saturday, and on Tuesday the team lost its 15-game winning streak.
Just three days after the team’s captain left the game after taking a puck to the face, the Penguins were easily handled by the bottom-dwelling Buffalo Sabres 4-1. In the game the Sabres chased goalie Thomas Vokoun after two periods as he gave up four goals on 13 shots.
The Sabres, who entered the game second from the bottom in the Eastern Conference, were led by Kevin Porter, who scored his first two goals of the season.
The Penguins met a Buffalo team in flux. After a sluggish start to the lockout-shortened season, the Sabres fired coach Lindy Ruff and now appear to be in sell-off mode. This week the team traded defensemen Robyn Regehr and Jordan Leopold for draft picks, and a number of other players are reportedly on the trade block before Wednesday’s deadline.
The loss to Buffalo may not hurt the Penguins as much as the loss of their star player. Crosby was hurt in the first period of the Penguins 2-0 win over the New York Islanders on Saturday when a deflected shot struck him in the mouth.
The news on Crosby seems grim for the Penguins. Though he was released from the hospital on Tuesday, a day earlier than expected, the captain is expected to remain out of the lineup as he undergoes facial surgery and could possibly miss the remainder of the season.
The injury has sparked fears that Sidney Crosby may have re-aggravated the head injury that has kept him out of the bulk of the two previous seasons. Crosby had a long recovery from a head injury that kept him out of the end of the 2010-2011 season and much of the 2011-2012 season as well.
Though the Penguins had their 15-game win streak snapped by Buffalo, the loss won’t hurt the team’s standing too much. The Penguins remain in first place in the Eastern Conference, four points ahead of Montreal.