It just keeps on coming for the Buffalo Sabres who dropped to 6-8-3 on the year after losing 4-3 to the New Jersey Devils at KeyBank Arena on Thursday night, but the biggest blow was no doubt seeing goaltender Linus Ullmark leave the game.
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Ullmark came under siege in the first period against the Devils and he saved all 15 shots he faced, including absolutely standing on his head to somehow keep out a flurry of shots in what was just an insane and bonkers sequence.
Well, during that intense scramble in front of the net, Ullmark was slow to get up after extending a glove to stop Nico Hischier‘s snapshot from the high slot, and while he did continue to play the rest of the period, he didn’t return for the second and was replaced by Carter Hutton who allowed four goals on 25 shots.
No information has been disclosed on Ullmark and his current condition as of yet, nor do we know how long the goaltender will be out for. All we know is that the 27-year-old has a lower-body injury, and the Buffalo Sabres should be praying that it isn’t anything too significant.
Losing Linus Ullmark would be a substantial blow for the Buffalo Sabres
Because, should Linus Ullmark be ruled out for any substantial amount of time, then that would be yet another death knell for a team already on the cusp of absolute disaster just over a quarter of a way through the 2020-21 NHL season.
While goaltending was always a major concern for the Sabres heading into this year, Ullmark had begun to alleviate some of those fears by coming up clutch and performing to a high level after returning from some personal time away from the team due to the sad passing of his father.
He has played to a consistently high level despite, at times, being left to hang out to dry by his teammates and he has also started to establish himself as a true No. 1 starter for the Sabres, posting a 2.44 Goals Against Average and a .919 Save Percentage in 12 starts.
Ullmark has also come up with a number of highlight-reel saves, including a stunning pad stop to deny New York Rangers rookie Alexis Lafreniere earlier on in the season, and he displayed some more heroics against the Devils last night before getting hurt.
I mean, just watch the above sequence, after the Sabres failed to clear the zone Ullmark stopped a shot from the point before flinging his body in the way of the way of a number of rebound attempts and then getting up, setting himself again and getting a glove to snag Nico Hischier’s wicked snipe out of the air. It was just insane.
Therefore, if Linus Ullmark is out then this could be a crippling blow for a Buffalo Sabres team who just can’t seem to do anything right at the moment with Captain Jack Eichel also scratched last night with a lower-body injury, highly-paid forward Jeff Skinner has been a healthy scratch for three straight games and the majority of the roster are underperforming, so losing their No. 1 goaltender for any amount of time could really wipe them out of the Playoff race in what is a shortened season.