The Buffalo Sabres gained an important 5-2 win over the Washington Capitals on Saturday afternoon, but were so close to losing Jeff Skinner to injury.
The Buffalo Sabres‘ impressive 5-2 win over the Washington Capitals on Saturday afternoon helped keep their tenuous postseason challenge alive. However, the game against the reigning Stanley Cup champions came so close to representing the point where the team could all but say goodbye to this season’s playoffs.
That’s because Jeff Skinner was forced to leave the action early in the second period with an injury to his left leg. The Capitals’ Carl Hagelin appeared to accidentally trip the winger with his stick, causing him to fall to the ice.
The Sabres and their fans no doubt grimaced, as it was clear from the expression on Skinner’s face that he was in a great deal of discomfort. He had to be helped off the ice by captain Jack Eichel and a trainer, before he headed back to the dressing room.
As for Hagelin, he was assessed with a two-minute penalty, but the irony of his involvement in the injury was not lost. The Sabres had recently shown interest in acquiring him from the Los Angeles Kings, to help boost their playoff chances; instead, he could have been on the verge of ruining those same chances.
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The team used the incident as a rallying point to continue one of their best displays of the season. However, you couldn’t help but wonder if Skinner’s injury was serious enough to end his season and derail the Swords’ playoff aspirations.
Instead, a minor miracle occurred in the third period, when Skinner made a surprise return to the ice. Sam Reinhart secured his third career hat-trick with an open net goal late on, and all was right in the world again.
Skinner has been a revelation for the Sabres this season with 36 goals. (For context, Eichel is second on the team with 19 goals.) He is just one goal shy of his best ever total of 37 goals from the 2016-17 campaign.
In fact, the 26-year-old is on course for career-bests in a whole host of categories. These include; overall points, shooting percentage, average ice time and faceoff percentage.
Skinner is set to become an unrestricted free agent at the conclusion of the 2018-19 campaign. However, his agent has already started negotiating a potential long-term extension with the Sabres.
What was your main takeaway from the Buffalo Sabres’ win against the Capitals? Further, are you anticipating a major move prior to Monday’s 3:00 pm ET trade deadline, to help boost their playoff chances? Let us know in the comments below.