BUFFALO – With 2:17 left in the second period of Thursday’s dismal 5-1 loss to the Montreal Canadiens, Sabres defenseman Tyler Myers laid out on the ice, blocking P.K. Subban’s wicked one-timer from the point.
Myers got up and hobbled off seconds later after the Canadiens scored on the five-on-three power play.
The 23-year-old finished the game, though, skating 25:37, his third-highest total this season, while blocking a game-high four shots.
Following the game, Myers found out he had broken a bone in his leg. His season is finished.
“Obviously, it’s a huge hole for our defense corps,” Sabres defenseman Mike Weber said this afternoon inside the First Niagara Center. “He logs a lot of minutes. He’s a core guy for our power play. It’s kind of a repetitive statement right now, but someone’s got to step up again and kind of fill his role for power play and his minutes.”
Injuries and trades have whittled the Sabres’ defense depth down dramatically recently. Incredibly, only five healthy defensemen in the organization possess NHL experience.
Interim coach Ron Rolston wouldn’t say which defenseman the Sabres plan to recall from Rochester, although 5-foot-11 Alex Biega, a 25-year-old with 192 games of AHL experience, seems like the probable candidate.
The Harvard graduate, a fifth-round pick in 2006, has four goals and 22 points in 66 games with the Americans this season.
“He’s a good D-man,” Sabres defenseman Adam Pardy said about Biega, his defense partner about 10 games in Rochester. “He’s got good skills. He skates really well. He’s got his head up.”
Pardy began the season as the Sabres’ ninth defenseman. Now, less than three months later, he’s a fixture on the blue line.
The Sabres traded T.J. Brennan, Jordan Leopold and Robyn Regehr. Myers and Alexander Sulzer are out for the season.
“It’s pretty crazy how it works,” Pardy said. “You got to be prepared for anything. You look back to January when I first got put on waivers, it seemed like a longshot to even get back in the lineup here. … It definitely was tough not knowing what was going to happen.”
A struggling Myers wasn’t sure what might happen when the Sabres scratched him twice earlier this season. He rebounded a bit, however, and Rolston kept playing him big minutes recently while complimenting his game.
Myers compiled three goals, eight points, a minus-8 rating and 32 penalty minutes while averaging 21:18 during his 39 appearances this season.
Teammates like what he showcased Thursday.
“Once you get that will in your mind to continue to push forward, that’s pretty awesome, scary in the same part because it probably could’ve been a lot worse of an injury,” Sabres winger Steve Ott said.
Speaking off Ott, what about that video of him trying to lick – yes, lick – Jeff Halpern’s visor Thursday?
“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” Ott said before smiling and cackling a bit.