Jake McCabe has played 55 games this season. ©2019, Hickling Images

Sabres’ Jake McCabe likely out for season

BUFFALO – Sabres defenseman Jake McCabe will likely miss the rest of the season after suffering an upper-body injury in the second period of Saturday’s 5-2 road loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs.

The Sabres announced this morning McCabe, 25, will miss five to six weeks. The regular season ends April 6.

“He’s a warrior,” Sabres coach Phil Housley said this morning inside KeyBank Center. “He always puts his body in harm’s way, brings a physical element to our team. Yeah, it’s going to be tough to replace him, but we’ve got guys that are very capable of doing that.”

McCabe has compiled four goals, 14 points, 35 penalty minutes and a minus-7 rating while averaging 18 minutes, 50 seconds of ice time in 55 games this season.

Housley said he doesn’t know if McCabe needs surgery. McCabe underwent season-ending shoulder surgery in February 2018.

With McCabe out, defenseman Matt Hunwick skated beside newcomer Brandon Montour this morning, meaning Hunwick could play tonight against superstar Connor McDavid and the Edmonton Oilers after sitting out Saturday.

But Housley wouldn’t rule defenseman Casey Nelson out of tonight’s contest. Nelson, who hasn’t played an NHL game since Dec. 4, skated as an extra beside forward Vladimir Sobotka this morning.

Perhaps another defenseman is nursing an injury.

Nelson, 26, has out eight straight games after returning from a conditioning assignment. An upper-body injury sidelined him more than two months.

In other news, Sabres goalie Linus Ullmark will start tonight, his third straight nod.

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