BUFFALO (LGS) — UPDATED FRIDAY — Thursday night was another bittersweet night for the Buffalo Sabres. Buffalo picked up its fourth straight victory with a 2-1 overtime win over the Edmonton Oilers but fell to the injury bug yet again, losing Maxim Afinogenov and Jiri Novotny. Both players are expected to miss considerable time.
"Max we lost for a minimum of six weeks. He's got a broken scaphoid bone in his (left) wrist," Sabres' head coach Lindy Ruff said in his postgame press conference.
While Ruff said after the game the injury occurred when Afinogenov fell to the ice after being hit by Ryan Smith, video replay brought us to a much different conclusion.
With six minutes left in the second period, Derek Roy lost the puck just inside the Edmonton zone. Oilers' defenseman Ladislav Smid picked up the loose puck and cleared it out of the zone off of Afinogenov's exposed left wrist. The Sabres' winger immediately waved his left arm in pain.
Afinogenov did manage to finish out his shift. He struggled with the wrist on the bench but decided to give it one more try, and it paid off. The injured winger scored the game-tying goal with just under two minutes remaining in the period. It was Afinogenov's career-high 23rd goal of the season.
Based on the original timeline, the earliest Afinogenov could return would be the end of March.
"We had it X-Rayed in between periods and that's what it turned out to be," Ruff added about the broke wrist bone.
At the Amherst Pepsi Center Friday morning, Ruff told reporters that Afinogenov's wrist would need surgical repair, and reiterated that he would be out a bare minimum of six weeks.
"At best case scenario, probably six weeks. Absolutely best case scenario."
Novotny tweaks previous high-ankle sprain
Midway through the third period, Novotny re-aggravated his high-ankle sprain when his skate twisted along the boards as the Buffalo centerman put a check on Oilers' defenseman Matt Greene.
"Those ankle injuries are so tough. That high-ankle sprain, you can get it so close, but it never feels quite right," said Ruff. "I mentioned yesterday that he was still trying to get through that. You have to give him credit for playing with it."
Novotny missed six games after suffering his high-ankle sprain on January 19 against Vancouver. He'll be out indefinitely.
Stafford, MacArthur get recalled
The Sabres recalled forwards Drew Stafford and Clarke MacArthur from Rochester. Both players were watching the game together last night when they got the call.
"Clarke and I were watching the game together," said Stafford at the Amherst Pepsi Center Friday morning. "When we saw Max and Novo leave with injuries, we looked at each other. Not too long later, both of us got calls — separate calls — to pack it up and get to Buffalo."