Buffalo, NY, United States (4E Sports) – The Buffalo Sabres lost five players, including goaltender Matt Hackett, to different injuries during their 4-1 loss to the Boston Bruins Saturday.
Hackett had to be carted off via stretcher after he suffered what appeared to be a major leg injury with 11:35 left.
Boston’s Torey Krug, skating toward the net at full speed, tripped over Buffalo defenseman Jamie McBain and flew into Hackett’s right leg.
“For a second I thought he was OK, and then he started screaming,” Krug said. “You never want to see stuff like that happen, no matter how it happens. It’s tough.”
Hackett stayed facedown for several minutes as seven people tended to his injury. They eventually lifted the goalie onto a stretcher as he covered his face in pain. He flew home with the Sabres after getting medical attention.
“We’re going to wrap him up as best as we can, get him back home, get our doctors to look at him, but it doesn’t look too good,” said Sabres coach Ted Nolan, who added the leg wasn’t broken.
Aside from Hackett, four other Sabres left the penultimate game – defenseman Christian Ehrhoff (concussion) and forwards Chris Stewart (ankle), Brian Flynn (lower body) and Matt D’Agostini (lower body).
None will be available for today’s season finale against the New York Islanders in First Niagara Center.
“It’s a tough enough year on us in our situation with the standings, but also to lose bodies the way we’ve been doing is an unfortunate thing, too,” McBain said. “I’ve never seen anything like it in my career. I’ve never heard of anything like it.”
The undermanned Sabres had a nearly empty bench by the end of the game. Officials ejected Jake McCabe with 12:43 remaining with a major interference penalty after a hit on Daniel Paille, who wobbled off the ice with help from teammates.
John Scott followed McCabe to the dressing room with 3:40 remaining with a 10-minute misconduct for talking with Bruins captain Zdeno Chara, who also got booted.
“We were playing with basically two lines the last half of the period, guys dropping with injuries and penalties,” right wing Drew Stafford said. “That’s a heck of a team over there. It’s going to be a challenge with four lines and six D, let alone we’ve got two lines and four D.”
There was no word on who would be the Sabres’ second goaltender today. The Rochester Americans, who are in a playoff battle, also have a 5 p.m. start, with their game in Cleveland against Lake Erie.
Connor Knapp replaced Hackett, and the backup’s first appearance on an NHL roster sheet was one for the books. Knapp became the ninth netminder to dress for the injury-plagued Sabres, who set an NHL record for most goalies used in one season.