On Saturday, a day after the Buffalo Sabres moved into a wild card spot, they placed first-line winger Alex Tuch on injured reserve.
The loss of Tuch, of course, is a potentially devastating blow as the Sabres fight for their first playoff spot in 12 years. The 26-year-old has morphed into a star this season, scoring 28 goals and 62 points. Both totals rank second on the team.
It’s unclear what happened to Tuch, who left Friday’s 3-1 road win over the Florida Panthers 12:21 into the third period. He scored a power-play goal earlier in the game.
The Sabres have remained remarkably healthy up front all season. Tuch is one of four forwards who have played all 57 contests. Eleven forwards have played at least 49 games.
Tuch, who’s in his first full season with the Sabres, has spent most of the year skating at right wing beside center Tage Thompson and Jeff Skinner.
Winger Vinnie Hinostroza, who was assigned to the AHL last month, did not play in Rochester Americans’ road game Saturday against the Springfield Thunderbirds, meaning he could be recalled.
The Sabres, who host the Washington Capitals this afternoon, did not practice Saturday.
Update: Hinostroza, 28, has been recalled. He compiled five goals and nine points in 11 games in his first stint in the minors since 2017-18.