The offensively--challenged Buffalo Sabres will have to go at least one game without one of their top forwards. Drew Stafford suffered a groin injury in last night's game against Montreal that will keep him out against Boston tomorrow, and possibly longer.
"It looks mild, which would put him as day-to-day. I would say he’s doubtful for tomorrow and probably the next game, but I wouldn’t anticipate too much more time with the way he’s feeling today," said coach Lindy Ruff after practice today. Missing Stafford would be a big blow to the Sabres when facing Boston, as Stafford already has two hat tricks against them this season and has seven goals in three games against the Bruins.
Ruff was hesitant to name a call-up from Portland for the game against Boston, but did mention Marc-Andre Gragnani, Paul Byron and Matt Ellis as candidates, according to the Sabres web site. Curiously, Luke Adam's name was nowhere on that list (Adam was sent back to Portland to make room for Patrick Kaleta in last night's game.) Perhaps Ruff is looking to give Adam more time playing in Portland rather than having him play 8-9 minutes a night for Buffalo, as stated here.
Without Stafford, Buffalo must rely on their top line of Gerbe, Gaustad and McCormick to produce offensively. Wait, no, that can't be right. Sometimes I get confused as to who's on our scoring line. Luckily, over the past few games, guys like Connolly, Pominville, and Vanek have found their scoring touch again (though it's a very light touch.) Those guys need to step their game up in a big way if this team wants to make any noise, especially if Stafford's groin injury doesn't heal as quickly as expected.