|Senators right winger Alex Kovalev is out for the rest of the season with a torn knee ligament. (ANDRE FORGET/QMI Agency)
Senators right winger Alex Kovalev has a "completely torn" ACL in his left knee and is gone for the season.
The 37-year old will have surgery in two weeks.
"He will recover but it will be a big project for him going forward," Senators GM Bryan Murray said Saturday morning.
Kovalev injured his knee in the second period of Thursday's shootout loss to Tampa.
Kovalev is facing a minimum of 3-4 months of rehab after surgery.
"Obviously he's an important player," said coach Cory Clouston. "He's played a lot of important minutes for us this year.
"Other teams have injuries. We're just going to have to make do. We're going to have other guys step up and take some more minutes and take a bigger role."
Kovalev is fourth in team scoring with 49 points on 18 goals and 31 assists, but he's had a ridiculously difficult time finding the scoresheet since the Olympic break. In his last 17 games he's managed just one goal and one assist.
Kovalev still has one year left on a contract that pays him a $5 million salary.
"I thought he was a real fine player for us," said Murray. "A guy that occupied a good player on the other team. He was a tremendous complementary player for a guy like Mike Fisher. I think Mike has had a real good year, and early on, when we were trying to get Peter Regin to be a good player in this league, Kovalev helped him a great deal.
"Obviously, he was in our top six (forwards) all year that we hoped and thought at playoff time would be a big factor for us. To lose him in the second-last game of the year in a game that really didn't mean very much is disappointing for us as an organization and certainly for Alex."
The Senators, who host Buffalo in their last game of the season Saturday night at Scotiabank, open the playoffs next week in either New Jersey or Pittsburgh.
Pascal Leclaire will start in goal against the Sabres and coach Cory Clouston said there will be a "couple of game time decisions" regarding his roster.