Brendan Gallagher will be out indefinitely after the Montreal Canadiens forward broke his right thumb in a 3-2 overtime win against the Edmonton Oilers at Bell Centre on Monday.
Gallagher left the game at 13:28 of the first period after he was struck by a shot by Canadiens defenseman Alexander Romanov.
“It’s tough. He’s a warrior in front of the net, and these kinds of things might happen through the season,” Montreal forward Tomas Tatar said. “Obviously, he will be missed, and we have to do everything we can and battle and get as many points until he gets back, and hopefully he will be ready to play for us.”
Gallagher has scored 23 points (14 goals, nine assists) in 35 games this season.
The Canadiens (17-19-9) are in fourth place in the seven-team Scotia North Division, eight points ahead of the Vancouver Canucks and Calgary Flames. The top four teams will make the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Gallagher missed 18 games in 2016-17 following surgery on his left hand after he was hit by a shot by Canadiens defenseman Shea Weber against the Dallas Stars on Jan. 4, 2017. He missed 17 games the previous season after he broke two fingers on his left hand blocking a shot by New York Islanders defenseman Johnny Boychuk on Nov. 22, 2015.
NHL.com columnist Dave Stubbs and independent correspondent Sean Farrell contributed to this report