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Penguins' Bennett out with undisclosed injury

by James Murphy

MONTREAL -- Pittsburgh Penguins forward Beau Bennett left during a 4-3 win against the New York Islanders on Friday in the second period with an undisclosed injury and could be out for a while, according to Penguins coach Dan Bylsma.

Bylsma told the media prior to the Penguins game against the Montreal Canadiens at Bell Centre on Saturday he did not know what the exact injury is, but didn't sound optimistic about a quick return for the second-year forward.

"Beau stayed back in Pittsburgh last night and today is getting further evaluated by our doctors," Bylsma said. "We don't have an answer on that yet. But he's not with us now and perhaps in the next 24 hours we'll have a better answer on that.

“I thought the game in Washington [on Wednesday] was a real good game for him. He missed a lot of hockey early in the season. Getting his feet under him, adjusting to a top-six role, he was just starting to play his best. Obviously, it's disappointing."

Bylsma was then asked for a timetable.

"Longer than days now right now," Bylsma said. "Right now longer than that."

With Penguins captain Sidney Crosby scoring his 250th goal Friday and center Evgeni Malkin breaking a 15-game drought, it wasn't all bad news for Bylsma and the Penguins as they prepared for the Canadiens. Bylsma was excited for his captain's milestone goal but is more excited about the consistent leadership Crosby brings.

"I don't know if the milestone of 250 goals drives the point home," Bylsma said. "He leads our team with his work ethic and how he plays. It's not as much the skill as we all talk about and maybe associating it with the points and the goals, but it is the work ethic and how he plays the game so hard. It's a leader in points and a leader in the goals, but it's more than that for our team."

As for Malkin finally scoring, Bylsma was thrilled to see the hard work of his center finally pay off and credited Malkin for his team-first attitude throughout the drought.

"I think Evgeni knew that he wasn't scoring and he carried that with him," Bylsma said. "It took away from him shooting the puck a little bit. He didn't have the confidence attacking the net and shooting the puck like he has in the past, whether it be on the power play or 5-on-5. But he's played the last five games … he’s played real strong and been a big factor in our team, contributing with assists and multipoint games the last couple. If you want to know where he was at after he scored last game, he was mad at James Neal for passing him the puck because James was wide open and should've shot the puck. He was mad at James for passing him the puck, but I think he'll take the goal as a celebration. But I don't think he was solely focused on breaking the 15-game goalless streak. He's been playing really strong for us and contributing. Hopefully the goal will only ignite him to shoot a little more."

Bylsma said Matt D'Agostini will replace Bennett in the lineup, and Marc-Andre Fleury will start in goal. Here's what the Penguins' lineup likely will look like:

Chris Kunitz - Sidney Crosby - Pascal Dupuis

Jussi Jokinen - Evgeni Malkin - James Neal

Brian GibbonsBrandon Sutter – Matt D’Agostini

Tanner Glass - Joe Vitale - Craig Adams

Olli Matta – Kris Letang

Brooks Orpik - Paul Martin

Matt Niskanen - Deryk Engelland

Marc-Andre Fleury

Jeff Zatkoff

Scratched: Zach Sill, Robert Bortuzzo

Injured: Beau Bennett (undisclosed), Chuck Kobasew (lower body), Rob Scuderi (ankle), Tomas Vokoun (pelvis)

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