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Crosby out for Penguins against Rangers with lower-body injury

Center still being evaluated after leaving game against Blackhawks on Saturday

by Wes Crosby / Independent Correspondent

Sidney Crosby has a lower-body injury and will not play for the Pittsburgh Penguins against the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden on Tuesday (7:30 p.m. ET; NBCSN, TVAS, ATTSN-PT, NHL.TV).

"[Crosby] is continuing to be evaluated right now," Penguins coach Mike Sullivan said Monday. "I don't have an update for you. He will not play against the Rangers. When I get further information, I will let you know."

When asked if Crosby's injury could keep him out long term, Sullivan first asked for a definition of "long term." It was then clarified that it could mean weeks or months.

"I don't know," Sullivan said. "I think, right now, all I know is he's continuing to be evaluated and then when I have further information, I'll update you."

Crosby did not practice Monday after sustaining the injury in Pittsburgh's 3-2 shootout win against the Chicago Blackhawks on Saturday. He left the game after blocking a shot from Blackhawks defenseman Erik Gustafsson at 1:43 of the third period.

"I don't think the guys are deflated by any stretch," Sullivan said. "Obviously, [Crosby] is a critically important player for us. He's not an easy guy to replace with everything that he does and [how he] helps in the way he helps our team, and the contributions he makes. No one person is going to pick up that slack."

Video: COL@PIT: Crosby scores on backhand after nifty move

The Penguins are already without defenseman Kris Letang and forward Patric Hornqvist. Letang is week to week with a lower-body injury; Hornqvist (lower body) is out longer term.

Forwards Evgeni Malkin (lower body), Jared McCann (lower body), Alex Galchenyuk (lower body), Nick Bjugstad (lower body) and Bryan Rust (upper body), and defenseman Brian Dumoulin (lower body), have each returned recently from injury for Pittsburgh.

"We've gone through it before," said forward Jake Guentzel, who has who has eight goals this season after scoring 40 mostly on a line with Crosby last season. "Everyone has to step up when you lose a player like [Crosby], if that happens. ... Everyone has to do a bigger part."

McCann replaced Crosby at center with Galchenyuk at left wing and Guentzel at right wing during line rushes Monday. Dominik Simon moved to left wing, where McCann played Saturday, on a line with Malkin at center and Rust at right wing.

"[Crosby is] a guy you can't replace," McCann said. "Just keep playing my same game. I'm not going to change anything. We're going to create chances for ourselves and play well defensively."

Without Crosby, Pittsburgh's top power-play unit had defenseman Justin Schultz with Malkin, Guentzel, Galchenyuk and Bjugstad. The Penguins are 0-for-25 with the man-advantage in the past 11 games.

Crosby leads the Penguins with 17 points (five goals, 12 assists). He has been held without a point in his past four games since having three (one goal, two assists) in a 7-1 win against the Philadelphia Flyers on Oct. 29.

In that game, Crosby wore a jaw guard after taking a puck to his face in a 3-0 win against the Dallas Stars on Oct. 26. He wore the guard again to start the next game against the Edmonton Oilers, but removed it midway through a 2-1 overtime loss on Nov. 2.

Entering his 15th NHL season, Crosby sustained an undisclosed injury after taking a shot off his foot during the Penguins' final preseason game on Sept. 28, but played in a 3-1 season-opening loss to the Buffalo Sabres on Oct. 3.

The Penguins captain had 100 points (35 goals, 65 assists) in 79 games last season. It was the first time he reached 100 points since having 104 (36 goals, 68 assists) in 2013-14, when he won the Hart Trophy voted as the top player in the NHL for a second time. 

Crosby, who won the Stanley Cup with Pittsburgh in 2009, 2016 and 2017, is second behind Mario Lemieux for the most goals (451), points (1,233) and assists (782) in Penguins history. He has played the most games for them with 960, 45 more than Lemieux.

"We're going to have to make sure we pull together as a team," Sullivan said. "Everybody has to elevate their game. We still believe we have capable people in the lineup. That's the way we look at it."

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