Jeff Skinner has scored a team-high 17 goals. ©2024, Micheline Veluvolu

Jeff Skinner suffers injury; Sabres could make change on defense

BUFFALO – Winger Jeff Skinner, the Sabres’ leading goal scorer, suffered an upper-body injury in Tuesday’s 5-2 loss to the Seattle Kraken and could miss tonight’s game against the Ottawa Senators at KeyBank Center.

The Sabres are awaiting results of the imaging Skinner, 31, underwent Wednesday morning to determine how long he could be sidelined.

“It doesn’t look like it’s going to be long,” Sabres coach Don Granato following Wednesday’s practice.

Skinner’s absence, even for a short time, would be significant. He has scored 17 goals and 33 points in 38 games this season. He opened the scoring in Tuesday’s loss, the start of a six-game home stand, and finished the contest.

Victor Olofsson practiced in Skinner’s place at left wing alongside center Tage Thompson and Alex Tuch on Wednesday in LECOM Harborcenter.

Granato said Olofsson, out because of illness Tuesday, and captain Kyle Okposo, out the last three games with a lower-body injury, had good days Wednesday.

Earlier this week, Okposo targeted Thursday’s game as his possible return.

In other lineup news, Granato said rookie defenseman Ryan Johnson, a healthy scratch the last three games, could play against Ottawa. Johnson shared reps with Henri Jokiharju alongside Connor Clifton.

“I would expect he would be in tomorrow,” Granato said of Johnson.

Jokiharju, who struggled Tuesday, could be scratched.

Sabres prospects and Rochester Americans forwards Jiri Kulich and Isak Rosen on Wednesday were named to the North Division squad for the AHL All-Star Classic on Feb. 5 in San Jose.

The youngsters, both of whom the Sabres drafted in the first round, rank first and second in scoring on the Amerks this season.

Rosen, 20, has compiled nine goals and 24 points in 27 games, while Kulich, 19, has recorded 16 goals and 22 points in 23 contests.

They both made their NHL debuts Nov. 25 against the New Jersey Devils.

Kulich returned to Rochester this week after scoring six goals and 12 points in seven games and winning a bronze medal with Team Czechia at the World Junior Championship.

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