BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — After a 4-3 loss to Pittsburgh on home ice Sunday afternoon, the Buffalo Sabres quickly learned the loss wouldn’t sting nearly as much as the news that succeeded it.
“Ryan O’Reilly is out 3-4 weeks with a lower body injury,” Sabres head coach Dan Bylsma told reporters after the loss. “He’s your number one guy, and that’s something you can’t replace.”
O’Reilly is the Sabres’ leading scorer and in many ways the pulse of the team, given his intense practice habits and two-way play as the team’s top-line center. He was seen after Sunday’s loss wearing a walking boot on his right foot at First Niagara Center. Bylsma said O’Reilly sustained the injury in the 4-0 win at Columbus this past Friday night.
“He’s big on faceoffs, big on power plays and on the penalty kill,” said Sabres captain Brian Gionta. “We need guys to step up and fill roles.”
“It’s an opportunity for others to step up and take his ice time,” said goaltender Robin Lehner. “Every team loses guys and it’s going to be an opportunity for someone else.”
Bylsma said Sam Reinhart will see more time at center as a result of the injury. It is believed Justin Bailey will remain with the Sabres on their road trip to California, beginning in Anaheim on Wednesday.