Sabres center Ryan O'Reilly will miss the next three to four weeks with a lower body injury, Head Coach Dan Bylsma told reporters on Sunday.
O'Reilly, who currently ranks second on the team with 17 goals, was injured during Buffalo's 4-0 win over Columbus on Friday. He leads the squad with 32 assists and 49 points.
7 Eyewitness Sports Reporter Nick Filipowski saw O'Reilly sporting a walking boot following Buffalo's loss to Pittsburgh on Sunday.
— Nick Filipowski (@NICK_WKBW) February 21, 2016
"He plays in the offensive zone, he plays in the defensive zone, the power play the penalty kill," Bylsma said. "You need a big draw, he's stepping over the boards and that's something we're going to miss and we have to replace. I think you see the importance of that in our game tonight."
The Sabres struggled from the opening faceoff against Pittsburgh without O'Reilly in the lineup.
Bylsma moved rookie Sam Reinhart to center and placed Buffalo native Justin Bailey on his wing.
O'Reilly, who ranks first in the NHL with 1,489 faceoffs, has won a 57 percent of the draws he's taken this year.
The Penguins won nearly 60 percent of the faceoffs on Sunday against the Sabres.
Reinhart won only four of his 11 draws.
David Legwand was the best in the circle against Pittsburgh, winning five of his nine draws.
Jack Eichel and Johan Larson combined to go 17-for-42 against the Pens.
"(O'Reilly's) tough to replace but guys have to come in, step up and assume more responsibility," Brian Gionta said. "He's a big member of the leadership group in the room, too and guys like me, (Gorges) and (Legwand) are going to have to fill that void."
O'Reilly is averaging the third most ice time per game, logging over 21 minutes of action on average. Only defenseman Zach Bogosian and Rasmus Ristolainen are averaging more minutes.
"Obviously it is a huge loss for us," goaltender Robin Lehner said of the injury to O'Reilly. "He's a world class player and a leader in this room, but it's an opportunity for guys to step up. Every team loses guys, but it's going to be a great opportunity for someone else."