The Penguins have proven over the past few years that they can get by without a core player.

Or two. Or more.

Which doesn't mean they're interested in doing it again.

That's a possibility, however, after center Evgeni Malkin had to leave their 3-1 victory against Florida at Consol Energy Center Friday night during the third period because of an unspecified injury.

Malkin departed at 4:51, after Panthers defenseman Erik Gudbranson knocked him into the boards behind the Florida goal line, capping a sequence in which Malkin had tried to take the puck to the net.

His back struck the boards first. His head followed suit, but only after it had snapped back violently.

"It didn't look good," Penguins center Sidney Crosby said.

No penalty was called, and the Penguins said nothing to suggest they felt one was in order.

"I just finished my check," Gudbranson said. "You never want to see a guy go down. He's in a vulnerable position, but you can't pass up a hit like that.