DALLAS -- The Dallas Stars lost more than just the game on Thursday night at American Airlines Center.
Miro Heiskanen sustained an upper-body injury following a second-period collision along the corner boards and did not return in a 4-1 loss to the Buffalo Sabres.
Stars interim coach Rick Bowness did not have any new information on the defenseman's condition after the game, only noting that Heiskanen is listed as "day-to-day."
"You take him out of there and that's a big hole," Bowness said of Heiskanen's absence. "There's no getting around that. Injuries happen and you've got to keep playing and overcome them."
Heiskanen appeared to take an inadvertant stick and knee to the head from Rasmus Asplund with 14:40 left in the middle frame as he fell to the ice while battling for the puck with Jamie Oleksiak and Buffalo's Curtis Lazar in the corner of the defensive zone.
He remained down for a moment before skating to the Stars' bench.
Heiskanen, who played two more shifts before being ruled out after the intermission, notched the primary assist on the Stars' lone goal by Jamie Benn earlier in the second. He leads the Stars in ice time this season, averaging 24:24, and has not missed a game since making his NHL debut with Dallas in 2017.
"I think he an elite player on his team, so anytime you lose one of those guys, doesn't matter who it is, it's going to hurt," said Stars goaltender Ben Bishop, who stopped 18 shots in the loss.
"Obviously when you're a down a goal there, you rely on those guys. Obviously, it hurts a lot, but doesn't matter who you lose. If you lose anybody, it's going to hurt."
If Heiskanen is unable to play Saturday in Minnesota, help could be on the way.
Video: BUF@DAL: Bowness gives update on Heiskanen after loss
Stephen Johns, who has not played an NHL game in 22 months because of post-traumatic headaches, was recalled from his conditioning assignment with Texas on Thursday afternoon. He scored a goal with three assists and a plus-5 rating in two AHL rehab games, and Bowness indicated Johns may be ready to come back into the Dallas lineup.
"We'll talk about that over the next couple of days," Bowness said. "There's a good chance he'll play Saturday, but we'll evaluate that (Friday) and Saturday morning."
Teammate John Klingberg called Johns' potential return exciting.
"I'm very happy for him," he said. "Going back down and playing that good, even in the game where he didn't score four points, I heard he was really good. I met him here before the game and it gives me a big smile for sure. He's a really good player and he's going to give this team a lot moving forward if he can stay health.
"We're very excited to have him back."
Video: BUF@DAL: Bishop on 'disappointing' loss to Sabres
No comeback this time for Stars in loss
Despite getting a goal from Benn and owning a 16-5 shot advantage in the second period, the Stars (27-16-4) failed to make another come-from-behind push against the Sabres.
Jimmy Vesey, Rasmus Dahlin, Michael Frolik and Zemgus Girgensons all scored for Buffalo (22-19-7), which won for the fifth time in seven games and swept its season series with the Stars.
Video: BUF@DAL: Benn puts home carom off the ends boards
Linus Ullmark made 28 saves for the Sabres.
"It's disappointing," Bowness said. "We had a real good look early in the third and we needed something to give us a little more energy. ... The team game kind of disappeared for a while and we lost the flow."
With his assist on Benn's 12th goal of the season, Tyler Seguin became the fifth-fastest skater in franchise history to achieve 500 points with the club, reaching the mark in 516 games.
Video: BUF@DAL: Seguin on Stars' loss to Sabres
They said it
"That line had some good shifts out there. He was fine, but I'd like to see us spend a little more time in the offensive zone in the first and third period, which we didn't do and that's when he's at his best. They were getting pucks and rimming them around the board and getting out of there as quick as they could. Corey's at his best when we can spend some more time in the offensive zone."
-- Bowness on Corey Perry, who returned from a five-game suspension and recorded one hit in 13:13 of ice time
Video: DAL Recap: Benn scores in 4-1 loss to Sabres
"Obviously, it's been a message, but we haven't realized that occasion yet. We need to figure out those starts, but it's obviously nice to have the resilience that we do and being able to come back in games. We're flirting with fire, and tonight we got burned."
-- Seguin on Dallas' slow starts
The Stars will travel to face the Minnesota Wild (21-20-6) on Saturday at 8 p.m. CT in their final game before the bye week and All-Star break. Their next home game will be on Jan. 27 against the Tampa Bay Lightning.
Don't miss your chance to see the Stars take on the Tampa Bay Lightning when they return home to American Airlines Center on Monday, Jan. 27 at 7 p.m. Get your tickets now!
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Hockey League or Dallas Stars Hockey Club.
Jeff Odom is the manager of DallasStars.com and writes about the Stars/NHL. Follow him on Twitter @jeffodom.