Pittsburgh Penguins defenceman Justin Schultz is expected to miss four months after undergoing surgery to repair a lower left leg fracture, the team announced Monday.

The 28-year-old suffered the injury in the first period on Saturday night when he fell awkwardly to the ice after taking a hit from Canadiens forward Tomas Plekanec.

"It's tough," said captain Sidney Crosby following the game. "We've been in that situation before. The defence did a good job of keeping it simple. But we have to help each other out when we're in a situation like that to take the pressure off and we probably could have done a better job of that."

The native of Kelowna, B.C., has four assists over four games this season, his fourth in Pittsburgh. He posted 17 minutes of ice time in each of the Penguins' first three games this season.