The Buffalo Sabres secured two points, but lost some security in the process.
The Sabres dominated the Tampa Bay Lightning in many ways during their 5-4 victory Sunday afternoon at HSBC Arena. But before the final horn blared, the Sabres' hearts were in their throats.
In the third period, the Sabres watched two of their players get escorted off the ice with injuries courtesy of shoulder checks.
Defenseman Jason Woolley hurt his right knee after meeting up with Ben Clymer. Right wing Vaclav Varada was knocked out by a vicious mid-ice collision with Grant Ledyard.
In addition, Buffalo has been without defenseman Richard Smehlik for two games, and it appears his groin injury will keep him out for several more. Coach Lindy Ruff announced after the game Smehlik won't make the team's five-game, eight-day road trip that starts Tuesday in Ottawa.
"I don't know who's going to play next week," goaltender Dominik Hasek said. "I have no idea. We played most of this game with only five (players on) defense. Somebody's going to have to step up."
The Sabres received some good news after the victory. Woolley probably won't miss any games despite his dramatic exit with 8:33 left to play and the Sabres leading, 4-2.
"It kind of buckled on him, and I think he scared himself more than anything else," Ruff said. "But there's absolutely nothing wrong with the knee."
Added Woolley: "It scared the hell out of me. My knee got caught underneath me, and I felt a twinge on the outside of my knee. I thought the worst right away, and I didn't want to put any pressure on it. But I don't think it's going to be that big a deal."
Varada's injury silenced the sold-out Arena when, after passing the puck, he absorbed Ledyard's shoulder and flew backward. The back of Varada's head slammed on the ice, where he lay unconscious for a few minutes.
"It was a good shoulder hit, but that's pretty dangerous," defenseman Alexei Zhitnik said. "He doesn't remember what happened. He got hit pretty hard, especially when he fell down on the ice. He was out for a long period of time."
The Sabres called up defenseman Brian Campbell from Rochester to fill out their lineup for the upcoming road trip. He played two games with Buffalo last month when he replaced Smehlik.
Buffalo also lost defenseman Dmitri Kalinin for a few minutes in the first period after Brian Holzinger drilled him in the chin with a WWF-style elbow that left a large blood stain on the ice. Kalinin was sewn up and returned for the second period. Holzinger got the gate with a five-minute major and a game misconduct.
The Lightning played without top defenseman Pavel Kubina, who suffered a partially dislocated kneecap on Saturday and will be out at least a week. Kubina has nine goals and 15 assists and leads the Lightning in average ice time at 24:50 a game.
An on-ice wedding was performed before the game for Rob Woodrow of Alexander and Tracy Clark of Tampa. Woodrow wore his Sabres jersey and Clark her Lightning jersey for the ceremony. But after they were pronounced man and wife, Clark lifted off her top to reveal a Sabres jersey underneath.