The Buffalo Sabres' hottest goal scorer is a big question mark for Thursday's game against the Anaheim Ducks in KeyBank Center.
Winger Evander Kane worked out in a limited capacity during the morning skate, trying to shake off the effects of the crash he took into the end boards scoring the overtime winner to cap Tuesday's 5-4 win over San Jose. Kane grimaced during a postgame chat with reporters Tuesday, his right wrist wrapped in a towel.
Kane, remember, suffered broken ribs during the season opener against Montreal when he crashed into the same boards just a few feet to the left of Thursday's impact spot. The injury kept him out 11 games.
Kane has 16 goals for the season, one off Kyle Okposo's team lead, and leads the entire NHL in even-strength goals since Dec. 1 with 14. He has scored all 16 of his goals over the last 30 games.
His overtime winner against the Sharks was his second goal of the game and gave him his fourth two-goal outing of the season.
"Everybody saw the collision into my favorite wall," Kane joked Thursday of his trip over the pad of San Jose goaltender Martin Jones. "It's an important time of the season. I felt better than I maybe thought I would this morning. ... I want to be out there as much as anybody else. I felt good this morning, feel like I can contribute tonight."
There were conversations on the ice with coach Dan Byslma during the morning skate but the coach wasn't letting on to what was said. Kane seemed to think his work on that front was done and he had made his case.
"I'll let you guys stick around for coach Dan," said a smiling Kane. "We're not going to talk for the rest of the morning."
"It's a good discussion for you to have," Bylsma cracked to reporters.
The signs, however, point to Kane not playing tonight. He didn't take line rushes during the morning skate. He filled in for spurts on the second power play. He was on his own prior and after drills handling the puck and taking slapshots, clearly testing his hand. And he seemed to be hiding his hand behind him when he was standing in front of his locker talking to reporters.
"It was great to score obviously to win the game but the after-effect didn't feel too good," Kane said. "I kind of went face-first into the boards and felt it in my other body parts. I guess I have to be a little bit more careful going down to that end. Fortunately we only shoot there once unless we go into overtime. I got tripped up little bit but I'm happy that it wasn't any worse than the prognosis was and hopefully it's not going to hold me out of any games."
After watching the replay of the goal and collision, Bylsma was relieved the injury was not much worse as well.
"He looked and appeared fine in the dressing room postgame when we were talking," Bylsma said. "I saw the replay after that and the replay looks a lot worse at the time of him going in there hard. Obviously a similar spot where he went into earlier in the year. It was a pretty hard play. He obviously was coming up not feeling great after the guys let him up from that pile."