Knee injuries keep Connolly, Hecht out

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Sabres forwards Tim Connolly and Jochen Hecht will miss at least another two games because of knee injuries.

Team doctors recommend another four or five days of recuperation, coach Lindy Ruff said Thursday. Buffalo, which dropped its third straight game in a 4-3 loss to Carolina on Wednesday, hosts Eastern Conference-leading Ottawa on Friday and plays at Boston on Saturday.

The two players have combined for 29 goals and 86 points this season and could return for Monday's game in New York against the Rangers.

Despite the Sabres' skid, the team's longest since four straight losses in November, Ruff stressed he won't rush either player back
into the lineup. He wants them ready for the playoffs, which open
in three weeks. Buffalo ranks fourth in the East and is on the
verge of clinching its first postseason berth since 2001.

Connolly, who has 11 goals and 33 assists in 52 games, has missed four games since hurting his left knee March 14 against Washington. Earlier this year, he injured the same knee and was out for a dozen games.

Hecht has 18 goals and 24 assists in 63 games. He has missed three games after aggravating a right knee injury. He was sidelined for two games before the Olympic break.