NEW YORK -- New York Islanders center John Tavares sustained a lower-body injury in the third period of a 2-1 win against the New Jersey Devils at Barclays Center on Friday.
Tavares was battling for control of the puck behind the Devils net and tried to avoid defenseman Steven Santini before falling to the ice while appearing to hold his left leg. He needed two teammates to help him get to the locker room with 3:14 remaining.
Islanders coach Doug Weight said Tavares will be re-evaluated Saturday.
"It didn't look great," Weight said. "He got his foot on the back of the net and kind of jetted out there, so obviously lower-body. I'm always hopeful. I'll let [our training staff] look at it and go from there."
Video: NJD@NYI: Tavares exits with lower-body injury in 3rd
The Islanders (36-29-12) are four points behind the second wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Eastern Conference with five games remaining. Tavares leads New York with 66 points (28 goals, 38 assists) in 77 games. It is unlikely he'll play against the Buffalo Sabres on Sunday (3 p.m. ET; SN, MSG-B, MSG+, NHL.TV).
"It's a big blow," Weight said. "Anytime you see your best player go down, and obviously he was in some distress, but these guys have been around. Injuries happen. It's not fun, but it gives somebody a chance, right? It's going to give some more minutes to throw around, some big challenges at a good time of the year. We've got to win a game on Sunday.
"The morale will be fine. It's nothing you want to deal with, but it happens in a game."
Tavares had an assist in the first period when Anders Lee scored his 29th goal of the season. Lee has played on the top line with Tavares most of the season.
"He got his foot caught up a little behind the net," Lee said. "I don't know if he hit the net or what, but it just looked like he knew it right away and he went down. That's all I know. I saw him when I came in after the game, he was getting taken [into the trainers room]. We'll see what happens, hopefully it's nothing too serious."