Defenseman Tyler Myers returns after missing 19 games with a broken wrist, suffered Nov. 19 against Phoenix.
Because Myers was able to skate during his absence, his conditioning should not be a major factor in his ability to log important minutes -- he's second on the team with an average ice time of 21:39 per game.
"We're hoping he can lead our (defense) in ice time tonight," said Buffalo coach Lindy Ruff. "We're not going to hold back. The goal is to get him right back in the groove and play him plus-20 minutes."
Myers had just 6 points through 19 games at the time of the injury, and had been a healthy scratch in November for the first time in his career. The 21-year-old defenseman said he's focused on physical play as a key part of making his return successful.
"I think a lot of it is the mental side of the game," Myers said. "When I play physical, it gets me into the game more. It's hard to specify, but now that I've figured out that it does happen, I need to do it every night."
Here's how the rest of the Sabres' lineup -- as well as the Hurricanes' -- could look tonight:
Jason Labarbera will start in goal for Phoenix, after Mike Smith left the game Tuesday night against the Florida Panthers with a lower-body injury. Whether not Smith will dress as the backup is to be determined.
The Hurricanes have recalled center Riley Nash from the American Hockey League's Charlotte Checkers to replace Tim Brent, who suffered an injury during practice Tuesday. The game will mark Nash's NHL debut.
Jeff Skinner, who is out with a concussion, has been placed on injured reserve, retroactive to Dec. 7.
Here are the projected lineups for when these two teams meet Wednesday night at RBC Center:
RALEIGH, N.C. -- After six consecutive starts by Roberto Luongo, the Canucks will turn to Cory Schneider in goal against Carolina. Here are the projected lineups for both teams as they get set to meet Thursday night at RBC Centre.
Forward Jeff Skinner, the Hurricanes' leading scorer, and defenseman Joni Pitkanen have been diagnosed with concussions and will be out of the lineup indefinitely.
Skinner took a big hit last Wednesday from Edmonton defenseman Andy Sutton and has missed the past two games. Pitkanen had been injured one night earlier in Calgary, leaving the game in the second period.
"We sent Pitkanen back home off the road trip, and he went to the doctor a few days ago," Carolina General Manager Jim Rutherford said Wednesday. "In Jeff Skinner's case, he saw the doctor today. We didn't know for sure until he was diagnosed with one."
The news couldn't be much worse for Carolina. The team is 15th in the East and just 1-5-1 since Kirk Muller replaced Paul Maurice as coach Nov. 28.
Skinner, the 2011 Calder Trophy winner, has been one of the bright spots for Carolina, with 12 goals and 12 assists in 30 games. Pitkanen leads the Hurricanes' defensive corps in scoring with 12 points in 21 games. He also leads the team in average ice time per game at 22:35.
Rutherford said there is no timetable for the return of either player.
"We just follow whatever the doctor tells us," he said. "You can't project when a player would return."
The chance of trading for players to offset the injuries looks bleak. Rutherford already had been pursuing trades prior to the latest injuries.
"There aren't any forwards out there on the trade market that could come in here and make a difference in our team," Rutherford said. "I know first-hand because I've been on the phone for three weeks, not only looking with a potential injury, but because we're a team that's potentially short a couple forwards to be one of the good teams.
"We just have to work together as a team and work our way out of the situation we're in and deal with the present."
The team already has addressed Skinner's roster spot by recalling forward Drayson Bowman from the Charlotte Checkers of the American Hockey League. Bowman, who played Tuesday in Toronto, has 3 points in 35 NHL games spread across the last three seasons.
"We've got guys in the system we've been developing," Rutherford said. "We've talked about bringing younger players in, and that's where we will look to."
With no timetable for the return of Skinner or Pitkanen, Rutherford plans to be patient. He acknowledged that the two players could potentially be out of the lineup for a long stretch.
"Could be -- and if it is, it is," he said. "This is a real serious thing to deal with."
The Hurricanes also are shorthanded by the loss of defenseman Jay Harrison, who has missed the last nine games with an upper-body injury. Backup goaltender Brian Boucher has been out the past four games with a lower-body injury.
The Hurricanes next play Thursday, when they host Vancouver.
RALEIGH, N.C. --Pittsburgh Penguins star Sidney Crosby, who was held off the scoresheet Thursday against Washington for the second time in six games this season, is still finding his comfort level following his long absence with post-concussion symptoms.
"Some things are right where they need to be, other things aren't as consistent," the Penguins captain said. "Some things aren't near where they need to be. It's doing it over the course of the season."
After scoring twice in his first game back, Crosby hasn't found the net in the Penguins past five games.
"Finishing is one thing that takes a lot of focus,” he said. “You've got a split second to put a shot where you want to and you've got guys on you. It takes time getting into those areas and comfortable. That's something I want to improve on. I know it's going to take some time getting back into things."
The Penguins will turn to backup goaltender Brent Johnson tonight against Carolina. He will be looking for his second win of the season (1-3-2).
Carolina coach Kirk Muller did not confirm a starter in goal.
Here’s a look at the projected lineups for both teams in their matchup Saturday night at RBC Center:
The Rangers are giving backup goaltender Martin Biron his fifth start of the season in place of starter Henrik Lundqvist. Here are the other lineup spots for the Rangers and Hurricanes for tonight's game.
It's a tribute to him, and everything he's done and deserved is coming to fruition tonight with his jersey in the rafters. He's going to be a first-ballot Hall of Famer. And I said today, if he's not, take my stuff out. If he doesn't deserve to be in there first ballot, no one does. Except for (Wayne) Gretzky, I guess.
— Hockey Hall of Fame member Brett Hull on former teammate Mike Modano, whose No. 9 was retired by the Dallas Stars on Saturday