BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — The Sabres will be without top-line forward Alex Tuch for at least the next two weeks of their playoff push after the team’s second-leading goal scorer was placed on injured reserve Sunday.
Buffalo also was without All-Star defenseman Rasmus Dahlin for Sunday’s game against the Washington Capitals. The Norris Trophy candidate required rest for an injury he has been playing through, according to Sabres general manager Kevyn Adams.
Without revealing the nature of either players’ injuries, Adams said Tuch does not require surgery and is projected to return before the end of the season.
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“It is a big double whammy, and that’s sports and you have to deal with it,” Sabres coach Don Granato said. “It affects your confidence and you got to look in the mirror work on that issue.”
Tuch was hurt in the third period of a 3-1 win at the Florida Panthers on Friday.
“It’s a tough loss,” Adams said, referring to Tuch. “We believe internally in what we have in our locker room. It’s opportunity for guys to kind of step in and play a bigger role. But yeah, it’s just a massive player in our lineup from everything he does, not just the offensive side, but you guys see the minutes he plays, the situations he plays.”
Rookie winger Jack Quinn moved up to replace Tuch on the Sabres top line Sunday, and the club recalled forward Vinnie Hinostroza from the Rochester Americans,
Tuch has netted 28 goals and contributed 34 assists in 57 games with the Sabres this season.
Hinostroza has scored five goals, including two game-winners, and tallied four assists in 11 AHL games since joining Rochester on Jan. 24. He has also put up eight assists in 19 games with the Sabres this year.
Adams acknowledged that Tuch’s injury places what he called “urgency” on trade talks leading up to the NHL’s trade deadline on Friday.
“The way I would say it, is we know these are critical games and just puts us in a position where we’re more open to things than maybe before, 48 hours ago,” Adams said. “It doesn’t change our plan or vision, but it just puts those conversations even more … on the front burner.”
Buffalo opened the day 30-23-4 and in a tightly contested race for the Eastern Conference’s two wild-card playoff berths as it tries to end an NHL-record 11-year postseason drought.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.