USATSI_9886019_154158418_lowresOttawa Senators forward Bobby Ryan is out indefinitely with an injury to his right index finger, the team announced Sunday.

The 29-year-old from Cherry Hill was hit by a puck on Saturday and was examined by team doctors on Sunday, said coach Guy Boucher. He could be out three to six weeks.

This is the second time Ryan has had an injury to his right index finger this season. Back in November, he missed a total of five with a bone bruise at the base of the finger.

“This obviously comes at a bad moment,” said Boucher. “Let’s not kid ourselves. This team is battling hard to make the playoffs and we desperately need him in the lineup. He was going really good and you take a guy of that calibre…he’s got the size and the smarts to be able to play against big teams and can fit on any line, those guys you don’t replace.”

Ryan has 24 points in 50 games, including a dozen goals. He has five points on the power play and three points over the last two games.

“He was playing great,” Boucher said. “That’s the tough thing. He was a top six guy and we’re already missing a top six guy [Clarke MacArthur] since the beginning of the year and now you miss another one. We’ll have to find a way like we did all year.”

Indeed, the timing isn’t great for this kind of injury as the Senators need every win they can get right now.

Ahead of Sunday’s contest against Winnipeg, Ottawa is 31-19-6 – good for second in the Atlantic Division. They have needs to address as the trade deadline approaches on March 1 and Ryan’s absence could put some more urgency behind Pierre Dorion’s approach.

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