BUFFALO – A left MCL injury will sideline Sabres winger Evander Kane four to six weeks, coach Dan Bylsma said this afternoon.
So a 2-6 team with only 15 goals all season is now missing arguably its most natural goal scorer.
Bylsma said he didn’t know if the injury is a sprain. Kane doesn’t need surgery.
“It could’ve been a lot worse,” Bylsma said inside the First Niagara Center. “I don’t know if I sighed relief when it was four to six. It’s not as bad as it could’ve been.”
New Jersey’s David Schlemko hit Kane hard into the corner boards Saturday with 9:31 left in the Sabres’ 4-3 loss to the Devils. Kane stayed down on the ice for a couple of minutes in noticeable pain clutching his left knee before skating off gingerly to the dressing room.
To fill a forward spot, the Sabres recalled forward Tim Schaller from Rochester, where he has one goal, two points and a minus-7 rating in six games with the Americans.
While Kane only had one goal and three points, he appeared to be breaking out. He scored his first goal Wednesday and was averaging 20 minutes, 18 seconds of ice time a game.
“It’s big,” Sabres center Ryan O’Reilly said about Kane’s loss. “He adds a lot – his speed and the way he shoots the puck, just the way he plays, he’s a physical guy. It’ll be a loss, but as much as it hurts to see a guy go down, we’ve got to step up and we all have to help out.”
Besides Kane, the Sabres are also missing top defenseman Zach Bogosian (lower body) and starting goalie Robin Lehner (ankle).
Kane, a big acquisition from Winnipeg last season, has played only eight games since undergoing season-ending shoulder surgery in February.
Winger Nick Deslauriers, a regular third- or fourth-liner, moved up today and skated beside O’Reilly and Tyler Ennis.
In other news, winger Marcus Foligno, shelved by a charley horse Saturday, practiced today and could play Tuesday in Philadelphia. Foligno said he had a “dead leg” above the knee after hitting the boards early Friday.
“It was tough to play the rest of the game, but I went through it with the adrenaline,” Foligno said.
Bylsma hasn’t announced which goalie will start against the Flyers.