ST. LOUIS -- The Buffalo Sabres won't have to deal with two stalwarts of the St. Louis Blues lineup Sunday night in Scottrade Center as left winger Jaden Schwartz and defenseman Alex Pietrangelo will both sit out the game due to injuries.
Schwartz, who is second on the team in goals (14) and points (35), was placed on injured reserve Sunday morning with an long-term ankle injury suffered Saturday in Detroit. The team announced he will be re-evaluated in six weeks after getting struck by a shot during the first period of the Blues' 6-1 victory.
Blues coach Mike Yeo then surprised reporters during his daily briefing with the news that Pietrangelo will sit this one out with "bumps and bruises" and is day to day. Pietrangelo was also struck by a puck in Detroit but finished the game but Yeo said he will try to skate on Monday.
The Schwartz news came as a shocker because X-rays initially came back negative. But he was sent for an MRI and the damage, believed to be a hairline fracture, was found in the ankle.
"It's a tough break. I feel really bad for 'Schwartzie' with the year he's having," said Yeo. "The way he's put himself on the map in our league, the recognition for him has been so deserved."
Schwartz is ninth in the NHL in scoring, tied with Edmonton's Connor McDavid. Schwartz has combined with Brayden Schenn to become one of the NHL's most dynamic scoring tandems this season, first with Vladimir Tarasenko on the other wing and most recently with Alexander Steen.
"He's doing it all for us at both end of the ice making things happen," Schenn said today. "He'd be in the conversation in my opinion for our MVP so far this season. It's tough. Injuries happen. At the end of the day we have to find a way to step up.
"I feel terrible for him. He's having a career year. You just can tell how confident, how good he's playing out there. It's one of those freak little plays, a snapshot or wrist shot from 2 feet away where you think it wouldn't do any damage. It just kind of hits you in the right spot."
The Blues have recalled Ivan Barbashev from Chicago of the AHL but Yeo would not reveal how he would set up his lines tonight.
Pietrangelo has seven goals, 16 assists and a plus-14 rating while playing all 30 games thus far, becoming one of the leading candidates for the Norris Trophy this season. The Sabres were not aware of his status when coach Phil Housley met the media today but Housley said his team knows his team still faces a huge test against a St. Louis club that's 20-8-2 and third overall in the NHL.
"They're pretty deep," Housley said. "Obviously losing a player like that for an extended period of time is going to be tough to fill but we're not going to approach the game any differently. We know we're playing a good hockey team. They stay true to their structure, have a very solid game plan and they skate well. They're very responsible. You can see it reflects in their record, so this is a great challenge for us."