On Sunday, Oct. 11 the Buffalo Sabres reported that the results of goalie Robin Lehner’s MRI revealed that the goaltender had sustained a high-ankle sprain and will be out 6-10 weeks. The injury occurred 7:30 into the second period of the Sabres season opener against the Ottawa Senators that resulted in a 3-1 loss.
After making a save against Senators forward Mark Stone, it appeared Lehner got his right skate caught on the right goal post, and he quickly hunched over in pain. He then skated off the ice with help from defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen and team trainer Tim Macre. He had made 11 saves on 12 shots prior to the injury.
The Sabres acquired Lehner prior to the NHL Draft on June 26 from the Ottawa Senators along with forward David Legwand in exchange for the 21st overall pick in the draft, which the Sabres had initially acquired in the trade that sent Thomas Vanek to the New York Islanders on Oct. 27, 2013.
Initially drafted by the Ottawa Senators 46th overall in the second round of the 2009 NHL draft out of Sweden, the 24-year-old netminder played in 86 games with the team between 2010 and 2015, posting a 30-36-13 record, a .914 save percentage, 2.88 goals against average, and two shutouts. Lehner was 9-12-3 in 25 games last season with the Senators, with a .905 save percentage and a 3.02 goals against average, before sustaining a concussion against the Carolina Hurricanes on Feb. 16.
With the injury to Lehner, the Sabres will turn to backup goalie Chad Johnson. In 58 career games with the New York Rangers, Phoenix Coyotes, Boston Bruins, New York Islanders, and including two appearances with the Sabres so far this season, the 29-year-old has 28-16-7 record with a .913 save percentage, 2.44 goals against average, and three shutouts. He was initially drafted by the Pittsburgh Penguins 125th overall in the fifth round of the 2006 NHL draft, but never played for the team, finishing his college career with the University of Alaska before joining the New York Rangers in 2009.
The Sabres have also recalled 24-year-old goalie Nathan Lieuwen from the Rochester Americans, who in seven games of NHL experience with the Sabres (all late in the 2014-2015 season) has a 1-4-0, a .908 save percentage, and a 2.98 goals against average. The Sabres drafted him 167th overall in the sixth round of the 2011 NHL draft.
The Sabres will next face off against the Columbus Blue Jackets for a Columbus Day matinee game at 3 pm on Monday at the First Niagara Center.