The Columbus Blue Jackets' hopes of returning to the Stanley Cup Playoffs just hit another roadblock with the announcement Monday that goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky is expected to miss 4-6 weeks because of a groin injury.
Bobrovsky was injured Jan. 21 against the Winnipeg Jets, an injury that initially kept him out of the 2015 Honda NHL All-Star Game.
Goalie - CBJ
GAA: 2.85 | SVP: .913
In 33 games this season, Bobrovsky is 16-15-2 with a 2.85 goals-against average and .913 save percentage.
The Blue Jackets, who have been beset by injuries all season, are 14 points behind the Boston Bruins for the final Eastern Conference wild-card spot.
"I don't know how many (wins) we need, but we've got to get every one we can," Blue Jackets coach Todd Richards said. "... It starts [Tuesday against the Washington Capitals]. That has to be our approach."
After pushing the Pittsburgh Penguins to six games in the Eastern Conference First Round last season, the Blue Jackets were expected to push for a top-three spot in the Metropolitan Division.
Instead they've lost 283 man-games to injury; among them are forward Nathan Horton, who hasn't played all season because of a back injury; defenseman Ryan Murray, out since November because of a knee injury; forward Boone Jenner, who has been limited to 20 games because of wrist and back injuries; and forward Brandon Dubinsky, who missed the first two months of the season recovering from abdominal surgery.
It's also the second time Bobrovsky will miss an extended period because of an injury; a broken finger in October sidelined him for eight games.
"It is something that you can only worry about what you can control," Blue Jackets defenseman James Wisniewski said. "You can't control the injuries that have happened to us this season. Hopefully we can overcome more adversity like we've been trying to all year."
Wisniewski said the litany of injuries are not something the Blue Jackets can dwell on.
"It happens every year," he said. "It seems like it has been more frequent for this team this year. It is kind of the nature of the beast right now. We are certainly going to miss Sergei, but we need to find ways to win."
In Bobrovsky's absence the Blue Jackets will go with veteran Curtis McElhinney and 22-year-old Anton Forsberg, who was recalled from Springfield of the American Hockey League on Monday.
McElhinney, 31, is 4-6-1 with a 2.98 goals-against average and .907 save percentage in 15 games this season.
Forsberg made his NHL debut Nov. 1, and in two games with Columbus, he went 0-1-0 with a 5.32 goals-against average and .841 save percentage. In 27 AHL games, he's 18-7-1 with a 2.04 GAA, which ranks fifth in the league, and a .927 save percentage.
"Right now it is McElhinney's ball," Richards said. "As we get into the schedule with back-to-backs, then we'll talk as a staff and go from there. ... His play has been very good. I'm not sure how many games you go back, but he's been solid. He's made big saves for us and helped us win games."
The Blue Jackets also recalled forward Josh Anderson from Springfield. He made his NHL debut Jan. 16 and has seven shots on goal in four NHL games.