Sens forward Kovalev to miss playoffs after tearing knee ligament

OTTAWA – The Ottawa Senators will make their playoff run without veteran forward Alex Kovalev.

The 37-year-old Russian tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee during a 4-3 shootout loss to Tampa Bay last Thursday.

“He has a completely torn ACL and a deep bone bruise which has caused him a fair amount of pain,” Senators GM Bryan Murray said Saturday. “He will have surgery probably in two weeks.”

“Certainly this year is over. The normal rehab they tell me is three-and-a-half to four months minimum.”

Kovalev recorded 49 points (18 goals, 31 assists) in 77 games this season. Murray said Kovalev will be missed in the post-season.

“Obviously in our top-six (forwards) all year,” Murray said. “One of the guys we hoped and thought at playoff time would be a big factor for us.

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“To lose him in the second-last game of the year, in a game that really didn’t mean very much, is very disappointing for us as an organization and certainly for Alex.”

The Senators, who will finish fifth in the NHL’s Eastern Conference, will close out their regular season Saturday night against the visiting Buffalo Sabres. Ottawa recalled defenceman Brian Lee and forward Zack Smith from the AHL’s Binghamton Senators before the game.

Kovalev has 990 points (412-578) in 1,228 career regular season games. He has 98 points (44-54) in 116 career playoff games.