The prognosis was not good for the Buffalo Sabres’ blueline Tuesday afternoon.
Head Coach Lindy Ruff said defensemen Dmitri Kalinin and Jaroslav Spacek are both expected to miss some time after suffering injuries in last night’s 3-2 shootout loss to the New York Rangers.
“We haven’t got the results for some of the tests this morning yet, but we know for sure that Dmitri [Kalinin] is going to be out a week to two weeks with a shoulder [injury],” Ruff said
Spacek could be out even longer with an upper body injury in the “chest area.”
“Depending on his test this morning, I don’t have a timetable, but it’s going to be a good period of time,” Ruff continued. “When we get those results we will know better.”
Spacek left early in the first period of last night’s game, playing a little more than five minutes in the contest, while Kalinin made it halfway through the second frame before exiting with an injury.
Each defender has already missed time this season.
Spacek sat out eight games early in the year with a shoulder injury as well as two games in January because of back problems, while Kalinin missed a substantial amount of time- 23 games- when he suffered a knee injury late in October
In fact, the blueline has accounted for 50 of the team’s 152 total man-games lost this year.
Ruff noted the defense was so depleted last night against the Rangers that the Sabres were momentarily down to three defensemen when Nolan Pratt broke a skate.
“But I think that last night was a good indication that you can still play,” Ruff said. “I thought we still hunkered down and played pretty well.
“Overall defensively we limited them pretty good and I think we are going to have to be that good tomorrow [against the Penguins].”
Specifically, on special teams.
Spacek was critical on the backend with the man advantage, leading the defense with seven power play goals this year, as well as on the penalty kill.
“I still think that Nolan [Pratt] has done a good job and Nolan is a good penalty killer. Getting Jochen [Hecht] back has been a big boost for penalty killing,” Ruff said. ”We did a great job in Carolina and I thought last night we didn’t really give them anything on the opportunities they had. The system for our defense it’s a pretty easy system as a defender penalty killing and I think either one of those guys can step in and be real solid for us. Even [Mike] Weber is a good penalty killer,” Ruff said.
A Pittsburgh native, Weber will get the chance to take on his hometown team Wednesday night, recalled from Rochester in response to the injuries.
“I’ve had a lot of responsibility in Rochester this year,” Weber said. “I’ve been in the top pair all year and trying to shut down top lines. I’m stepping in right now and I’m just trying to help.”
“I think he’s capable of doing it, that’s the plan and you just see how the game goes,” Ruff said.