RALEIGH, N.C. — The Penguins were expecting the worst after seeing Pascal Dupuis’ right leg buckle sideways when linemate Sidney Crosby fell on it after being hip-checked early in a 5-0 loss Monday night in Ottawa.
Those fears were well-founded.
Dupuis will need surgery to repair a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee and almost certainly will be out for the rest of the 2013-14 season.
Coach Dan Bylsma said Friday the operation will take place “in a couple of weeks,” but made it clear the prognosis isn’t likely to be promising.
“No timetable, but likely that [he] might be out for the remainder of the season,” he said. “We’ll see more after the surgery.”
Dupuis had appeared in 266 consecutive games, including playoffs, and was the Penguins’ No. 6 scorer, with seven goals and 13 assists in 39 games. He also is one of their core penalty-killers, in addition to being among their finest two-way forwards.
“It’s not easy [to lose him],” Crosby said. “We’ve played together for a long time. What he does for our team, as far as [penalty-killing] and energy and what he brings to the room, his experience … there are a lot of things he does well.”
Dupuis’ impact in the locker room isn’t as well-known as what he does on the ice, but teammates say he is a powerful presence there.
“He’s a really big personality on our team,” linemate Chris Kunitz said. “A guy who keeps the mood light, keeps guys in check.”
And whose absence will create a number of gaping voids, on the ice and elsewhere.
Praise for Fleury
Penguins goalie Marc-Andre Fleury appeared in his 500th NHL game Friday night, and his career has run the gamut from exhilarating highs (a Stanley Cup championship in 2009) to excruciating lows (a series of subpar playoff performances).
Through it all, he has remained among the most upbeat members of the team and well-liked by virtually everyone with whom he has shared a locker room.
“He’s definitely evolved a lot as a player,” defenseman Brooks Orpik said. “As a person, he’s still kind of the same goofy, immature goalie we always played with. I mean that in all good ways.
“He keeps it light in the room. I can’t really remember one single day when he’s come in without a smile on his face. He always comes in with the same great demeanor, kind of lifts up the room when we’re going through tough times.”
Glass returns to lineup
Left winger Tanner Glass rejoined the lineup Friday night after sitting out 15 games because of a broken hand.
He had hoped to return for the Ottawa game, but the medical and coaching staffs decided it would be best for him to spend one more night in street clothes.
“They thought maybe I could use a few more days [to regain strength],” he said.
Glass said he had clearance to resume his full range of duties against the Hurricanes, with one very logical exception, given the nature of his injury.
“I’ve been told not to fight for a period of time,” he said. “But other than that, I’m good to go.”
Orpik resumed playing after sitting out eight games because of a concussion, noting that he also had a three-day bout with stomach flu during the NHL’s holiday break. “Besides that, I probably feel just as bad as everybody else after three days off,” he said, smiling. … Penguins center Evgeni Malkin missed his sixth game in a row because of an apparent leg injury that happened when he slammed skates-first into the boards Dec. 14 at Detroit. He participated in the game-day skate, though. … Defenseman Rob Scuderi (29 games, broken ankle) also took part in the game-day skate, while Bylsma said injured defenseman Kris Letang skated on his own in Pittsburgh. … Carolina center Jordan Staal, on the Penguins’ spate of injuries: “It’s crazy ... It’s really been unfortunate. I have a lot of good friends who are out. It’s no fun.”
Dave Molinari: Dmolinari@Post-Gazette.com and Twitter @MolinariPG.