BROSSARD, Que. - Montreal Canadiens forward Brian Gionta will be out of action indefinitely with a broken bone in his left foot.
The 30-year-old right winger, who was on crutches at the team's practice facility Wednesday, was hit on the foot by a shot Nov. 3 in a game against Atlanta.
He played the next four games despite the pain, but has since sat out two contests.
It is a setback for Montreal's struggling attack, which has struggled to score in recent weeks.
Gionta is tied for the team lead with eight goals with Mike Cammalleri and is third in team scoring with 13 points. He joins top defenceman Andrei Markov, veteran Hal Gill and forwards Georges Laraque and Matt D'Agostini on the list of injured Canadiens.
"The players will have to raise their game to try to make up for it," coach Jacques Martin said when asked about Gionta's injury. "It opens a door for someone. We've been waiting for that since the start of the season."
Martin said disgruntled winger Sergei Kostitsyn would not be recalled from AHL Hamilton, but the team would continue to use recent call-ups Tom Pyatt and Ryan White.
Defenceman Ryan O'Byrne is expected to return to the lineup after missing nineteen games with a foot injury when the Canadiens visit the Washington Capitals on Friday night. Rearguard Mathieu Carle was returned to Hamilton.