Kneejerk reaction, we are screwed. Leading scorer on the team, scores most of the goals this season, can't make up that kind of performance to make the playoffs. Or can we?
The Sabres are 12-15-4 in games that Vanek doesn't score a goal. That isn't a good record, but it also isn't bad either. The Sabres need to maintain in the next few weeks and they should be in a good position to continue to make a run at the playoffs when Vanek gets back. In the next three weeks, there aren't many teams that really scare me, we play Carolina, Toronto, and Ottawa all again; the Islanders; the Rangers at home. We also have no back-to-back situations in the next three weeks, which always seem to kill the Sabres.
We also have Tim Connolly. The Sabres are 8-5-1 since Connolly has returned to the lineup. He has provided a spark in himself and to his linemates to up their game and play that much better. Stafford has shown that scoring spark since Connolly has come back and with Vanek out, Pominville could step up into that empty wing slot. Playing with Connolly could most likely increase his massive scoring slump this year.
This also gives another forward a chance in Portland. Gerbe could very well be called up and play really, really well for this team in Vanek's absence. Another farm player playing above and beyond his expectations could continue this spark that the team has right now.
There are more important things to worry about. I honestly can't think of one, but when I do I will let you know.