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NHL referee helped off after being hit by puck during Sabres-Rangers game

Referee Kelly Sutherland, right, is helped by Linesman Steve Miller, left, after being injured during the first period of an NHL hockey game between the Buffalo Sabres and the New York Rangers in Buffalo, N.Y., Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2012. (AP Photo/David Duprey)

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Referee Kelly Sutherland, right, is helped by Linesman Steve Miller, left, after being injured during the first period of an NHL hockey game between the Buffalo Sabres and the New York Rangers in Buffalo, N.Y., Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2012. (AP Photo/David Duprey)

BUFFALO, N.Y. - NHL referee Kelly Sutherland did not return after a deflected shot struck him in the face early in the first period of the Buffalo Sabres' home game against the New York Rangers on Wednesday night.

Sutherland was following the play just off the right corner when Sabres defenceman Jordan Leopold took a shot from the right point. The puck deflected off a Rangers player in front and hit Sutherland directly in the face 5:37 into the game.

Sutherland never went down, but held his face in pain as play was stopped. He did not appear to be cut. After being treated by a trainer, Sutherland appeared woozy as he was escorted off the ice by his fellow officials.

The game resumed with one referee and two linesmen.

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