Ottawa Senators lose top scorer Drake Batherson to ankle injury after 'a bad play by the goalie'

OTTAWA, Ontario -- Drake Batherson, Ottawa's leading scorer, suffered an ankle injury in the Senators' 5-0 win over the Sabres Tuesday night, the result of which appears like a deliberate shoulder check from Buffalo goaltender Aaron Dell.

Late in the first period, Batherson chased a puck behind the Buffalo net and Dell shoved him hard into the boards feet-first. Batherson struggled to put weight on his left leg and needed assistance down the tunnel. He didn't return.

"It's a bad play by the goalie," Senators coach D.J. Smith said. "He's done it before, we've seen all the replays. Any other player in the game that does that, you'd have to go out there and face the music I guess. Certainly, the league will look at whatever, but it's a bad play ... and it's an unfortunate thing that a young kid's not going to be able to go to an All-Star game. It's dangerous."

Batherson scored in the victory, his 13th of the season, an unassisted tally coming on an Ottawa power play as the Senators improved to 13-20-3. But his injury, and the check, dominated the postgame discussion from the winning side. However, Dell, who faced 47 shots, had a different version of the events.

"I was just trying to buy some time for my defenseman and step into [Batherson's] lane," the veteran netminder said. "I hope he's all right. I wasn't trying to hurt anybody."

Batherson's injury overshadowed a memorable outing by 32-year-old veteran Tyler Ennis, who didn't dress for two games last week on the road, but took advantage of his opportunity, scoring three goals to give him four on the season.

"Sometimes you just need to refresh mentally, a reset," Smith said. "It's like you're starting the year over. ... He sits a couple out, gets away from it a little bit and comes back and here he is and now all of a sudden he looks like, you know, he's 20 years old again and he's making all these plays. So that's how finicky the mind is and how confidence comes and goes."

Ennis was more interested in talking about his injured teammate.

"I watched it and everyone can see it's unnecessary," he said. "It's a shame."

This was the first of a four-game homestand for the Senators, who continue to play without fans. Clearly, with people in the stands, the Dell-Batherson play would have caused even more of a stir.

"Quite frankly it's a bulls--- play," Ottawa forward Brady Tkachuk said. "It sucks."

Batherson has played in 31 games this season, and his 34 points are six more than any other Senator. He has two power-play goals and is averaging 18:46 time on the ice with a young club that needs as much offense as it can get.

"It's unfortunate our leading scorer is going to miss a significant amount of time over a play that didn't need to happen," Smith said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.