The Buffalo Sabres were fearful after defenseman Jake McCabe left Saturday’s game with a lower-body injury. McCabe left the game against New Jersey midway through the third period after trying to hit Nico Hischier against the boards, but instead, his right leg buckled and he clutched his knee after going down. Head coach Ralph Krueger said Sunday that McCabe has left the team to return home and is expected to get an MRI today with results expected Monday. However, he doesn’t believe the injury looks good at all. Buffalo News’ Mike Harrington adds the team is preparing that he will be out for the season.
“I’ll be honest with you,” said Krueger. “Not very optimistic about the diagnosis that will come out of this. The lower-body injury is serious.”
If McCabe misses significant time, as expected, that would be a big blow to a team that has struggled to put together an effective defensive lineup and will miss their alternate captain and his defensive presence on the ice. While not an offensive player (one goal, three points in 13 games), he does make up for it on defense. He has averaged 19:11 of ATOI and has 22 hits and 15 blocked shots this season, while playing all over the lineup.
The team has been without Rasmus Ristolainen, who could miss extended time after a suffering through a significant case of COVID-19. Defenseman William Borgen is out day-to-day and the team has had to depend others to step up their game, including Colin Miller, Matt Irwin and now will have to depend more on Henri Jokiharju and Brandon Davidson to get by with McCabe likely to be out of the lineup for some time.