Robin Lehner’s shaky start to his tenure as a member of the Buffalo Sabres has continued.
Lehner left Buffalo’s season-opening contest against the Ottawa Senators — his former team — halfway through the second period with what appeared to be a left knee injury. The team is stating it’s a lower-body injury. He was seen after the game on crutches, and in a walking boot.
In his post game press conference, head coach Dan Bylsma said that Lehner’s status is not “day-to-day”, and that it doesn’t appear to be a short term issue.
The injury occurred when Lehner attempted to turn back in front of the Buffalo net from the side.
Lehner’s first official start for the Sabres was rocky at first as he gave up a goal on the first shot he faced just 30 seconds in. He settled down after that, stopping the next 11 shots he faced.
Backup goaltender Chad Johnson came on in relief of Lehner, and quickly gave up a goal to Ottawa’s Kyle Turris. If Lehner ultimately misses any extended period of time, Buffalo will have to rely on Johnson, making a shaky goaltending situation even shakier. Andrey Makarov would likely be the call up from AHL Rochester should the Sabres need to go that route for a back up goaltender.
There is also the possibility of Buffalo looking outside the organization for a goaltender.
Lehner was one of Buffalo’s key acquisitions over the summer when general manager Tim Murray traded away a first round pick for him and veteran forward David Legwand. Thursday was Lehner’s first regular season action since February, and there’s no doubt that the end result of the day is disappointing, to say the least.
The Sabres ultimately lost to the Senators 3-1. On a positive note, top prospect Jack Eichel tallied his first career goal with a power-play tally in the third period.
Michael is a former Managing Editor for The Hockey Writers. He’s covered the Buffalo Sabres, along with the NHL in general, for various outlets since 2009. His work has been featured on outlets such as Yahoo, Sports Illustrated and Fox Sports.