BUFFALO, N.Y. — It was a laugher, except to one man in pain.
On what should have been an uplifting day for the Ducks — rookie center William Karlsson scoring two goals in his second NHL game, a 5-1 rout of the Buffalo Sabres — left wing Patrick Maroon suffered a left leg injury that cast a pall on the matinee victory.
Maroon was hit low by Buffalo defenseman Josh Gorges and went hard into the boards. He required assistance to make it to the dressing room.
Maroon, who contributed his third assist of the season on Monday’s opening goal, will miss the Ducks game in Philadelphia on Tuesday, when a full examination will provide clues to how much longer he’ll be sidelined.
The preliminary assessment is that Maroon did not tear a knee ligament and will not be out for months. He had been put on the first line when veteran forward Dany Heatley suffered a preseason groin injury. Heatley could return by Sunday, Ducks Coach Bruce Boudreau said.
“It could be a loss, but the one thing I love about this team is its resiliency,” Boudreau said of Maroon’s injury. “We had an awful lot of man games lost last year, and we pushed through. We’ll rebound, and see how tomorrow goes.”
Maroon was seen walking while wearing a contraption to immobilize his knee, but he declined to comment.
The Ducks (2-1) offense was very mobile Monday, out-shooting Buffalo (0-3) by a staggering 44-12 margin. The Sabres, favored to land phenom center Connor McDavid with the first pick in next year’s draft, have been outshot 131-57 this season.
Boudreau said Karlsson, who had a team-high six shots, was the best player on the ice. In camp, it appeared Karlsson might not make the roster, but Heatley’s groin injury and Kyle Palmieri’s off-season ankle injury were slow to heal.
“I never got a final word” about making the team, Karlsson said. “When I sat on the plane to Pittsburgh [on Oct. 7], I was like, ‘OK, I might be on the roster now.’ ”
When center Rickard Rakell was lackluster in the Ducks’ season-opening loss, Karlsson was given the start Saturday.
On Monday, the 21-year-old Swede strengthened his grip on his spot. He put the Ducks ahead, 2-0, in the second period when he took a pass from Hampus Lindholm and beat Buffalo goalie Michal Neuvirth.
“I had a lot of time to aim and got it in,” said Karlsson, who was quickly embraced by Lindholm. “I want to contribute every night. To get the two helps me with the coming games.”
Karlsson’s second goal came early in the third period, when he scooped up a Cam Fowler shot that bounced off the side of the net, shot and then batted in his own rebound.
The Ducks’ other goals came from Corey Perry (his fourth), Matt Beleskey (second) and Ryan Kesler (second). Kesler’s goal was his first on a regular-season penalty shot.
“One of the better efforts I’ve seen a team play,” Kesler said. “That’s what good teams do — string wins together on the road.”
When: 4 PDT.
TV: Prime Ticket. Radio: AM 830.
Etc. This is the first of 12 back-to-back sets for the Ducks, who were 20-5-3 in such games last season. Forward Wayne Simmonds has four goals, three on the power play, and center Claude Giroux, a Hart Trophy (league MVP) finalist last season, is minus-five for the Flyers (0-2-1).