Stewart has been out since March 6, his second game with the Sabres, when he sustained an ankle injury in a collision with Tampa Bay Lightning goalie Anders Lindback and was believed to be out for the season.
"A couple weeks ago I really turned the corner," Stewart said. "I made up my mind I was going to try and push it here and get back for a couple games."
Maple Leafs forward Joffrey Lupul took line rushes during warmups and will return to the lineup. Lupul missed the game Thursday against the Boston Bruins with a lower-body injury; Jerry D'Amigo will be scratched to make room for him.
TORONTO -- The Toronto Maple Leafs head into their final home game of the regular season hoping this won't be the last time they take the ice at Air Canada Centre this season.
The Maple Leafs have won two games in a row and head into their game against the Winnipeg Jets on Saturday one point behind the Columbus Blue Jackets for the Eastern Conference's second wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Toronto got a bit of help when the Chicago Blackhawks defeated Columbus 4-3 Friday.
"I was watching it," Kadri said of the Blue Jackets loss to the Blackhawks. "It was a pretty spectacular finish. I did fist pump one or two times. That's just the bounce. We haven't seen any of those. Some of the goals, even, we're scoring, now I think it's catching up with us a little bit and it's starting to favor us a little more."
The Maple Leafs broke an eight-game losing streak with a 3-2 win against the Calgary Flames on Tuesday and sit one point behind the Columbus Blue Jackets for the Eastern Conference's second wild-card spot in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
"Obviously we like to know what spot we're in and what position we're in," Toronto forward Nazem Kadri said. "That's something we've been looking over the past few weeks, or even the whole course of the season, not just today. We understand where we're at and where we need to go, so tonight's an important building step in that direction, so we've got to make sure we come out ready to go."
The Red Wings, Maple Leafs, Washington Capitals, and Columbus Blue Jackets all start the day with 80 points in the standings as they chase the two Eastern Conference wild-card spots in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. The Maple Leafs are at a disadvantage because the three teams they're competing with have more games remaining.
"I think it's one of those four-point games," Maple Leafs defenseman Cody Franson said. "Any time you play a team that you're in direct competition with, they're bigger than the others; especially at this time of year with the position that both teams are in. I think it's definitely one of those four-point games."
Bernier has been out since March 13 when he left the game against the Los Angeles Kings with a strained groin. The Maple Leafs have lost five in a row in regulation without him. He joined goalies James Reimer and Drew MacIntyre at the morning skate and was the first one off, indicating he may get the start against the Blues.
"It would be huge," Maple Leafs forward Joffrey Lupul said about Bernier. "He's been great for us all year and he's one of the better goalies in the League this year. He's pretty much given us a chance to win every game he's played in this year. It'd be big for us."
When asked if Bernier was ready to play, Maple Leafs coach Randy Carlyle said they were waiting to hear from the medical staff if he was ready to go.
"He's progressed along over the last three weeks to a point where the doctors feel, medically, that he's close to 100 percent ready and we just have to make a decision on the last assessment here," Maple Leafs coach Randy Carlyle said prior to the game.
TORONTO -- The Tampa Bay Lightning head into their game against the Toronto Maple Leafs on Wednesday riding a three-game winning streak. The Lightning are in the midst of a battle for the Stanley Cup Playoffs with the Maple Leafs and sit one point ahead of them in the Atlantic Division.
"You definitely find yourself scoreboard watching a little more now with how tight it is, especially in our division," Lightning captain Steven Stamkos said. "You want to try to finish as high as you can to get into maybe some home-ice advantage or play a team maybe other than Boston or Pittsburgh."
The Lightning continuing their winning streak will be tricky to do against the Maple Leafs. Toronto has beaten Tampa Bay in two games this season but heads into Wednesday losers of two in a row.
"Hopefully we can take advantage of a team coming off a pretty tough road trip playing against some pretty big teams that played last night," Stamkos said. "It works both ways, sometimes you get the benefit of the schedule, sometimes you don't. We've got to start early. These guys have had our number over the past couple years."
Making his first trip back to the city he called home for more than eight seasons was a bit strange.
"I don't know what to expect really," Vanek said. "All I know is there are a lot of good feelings and good memories in this building (First Niagara Center), in this town. It's something I'll cherish forever. Since last time I was here and the stint in between Montreal, guys ask me about Buffalo, I just, there's nothing bad I can really say about it."
Sabres coach Ted Nolan announced Neuvirth would miss the game due to a lower-body injury. Neuvirth sustained the injury in his most-recent start, against the Carolina Hurricanes on Thursday. He made 51 saves in a 4-2 loss.
"Michal got banged up the game he did play," Nolan said. "It's just one of those to add another to the injury list. It should be, hopefully, a day-to-day type thing. We'll see how it goes. We'll monitor it and get some therapy on it and hopefully it's just a day-to-day."
The Canadiens will be without starter Carey Price after he made his first start since returning from the 2014 Sochi Olympics on Saturday night against the Ottawa Senators.
Montreal came back from down 4-1 in the final 5:00 of the game to beat Ottawa 5-4 in overtime. Canadiens coach Michel Therrien announced after the game that Price wouldn't make the trip to Buffalo so he could stay rested.
Myers twisted his ankle late in the second period Sunday against the Chicago Blackhawks in a board battle with forward Brandon Bollig. Though Myers went off the ice at the time and returned to play in the third period, he missed practice Monday.
"I'll be ready to go [Tuesday], no problem," Myers said. "I got tangled up with the heel of the guy in front of me. It ended up giving me a little bit of a twist. Luckily it wasn't serious and I'm feeling real good today."
Conacher was picked up on waivers Wednesday from the Ottawa Senators, but hasn't been able to play due to visa issues. With those problems taken care of, Conacher, who played hockey at Canisius College in Buffalo, will make his first start with the Sabres at home.
"It's nice to be back here," Conacher said. "Ever since I came here with Canisius, it was a city I fell in love with pretty quick. It's close to home for me, so I probably have a lot of tickets to account in some of these games."
Clarkson left the optional morning skate early with a pulled muscle and is questionable to play Saturday, according to Maple Leafs coach Randy Carlyle.
"We have the ability to recall people, we have the ability to go with 11 [forwards] and seven [defensemen]," Carlyle said about what he might do if Clarkson can't play. "So there are some options. It's always tough when you're missing quality players, and nobody wants to do that. But in the situation, if the player is not deemed healthy by our medical staff and himself, then we have no other choice than to make decisions."
Umberger left the ice early during the morning skate, putting his status in doubt to play.
"He'll be a game-time decision, but we're expecting him to play," Blue Jackets coach Todd Richards said.
Umberger, 31, has been a steady producer for the Blue Jackets this season with 16 goals and 31 points in 60 games. He's slated to be on a line with Brandon Dubinsky and Cam Atkinson. If he winds up out of the lineup, Corey Tropp or Blake Comeau would jump into the lineup.
"I feel good," Niemi said. "Rested, but still I was skating, short skates every day. I did some work, but it wasn't long practice, lots of games every day. I think it's good for my body and also for my mind. My mind got to rest, and other than that it was great experience being there."
BUFFALO -- The Buffalo Sabres are open for business as the NHL Trade Deadline approaches, but general manager Tim Murray said Tuesday there's not a lot of activity yet.
"Very quiet. Quieter than I guess maybe was expecting," Murray said before the start of the Sabres' game against the Carolina Hurricanes at First Niagara Center. "I thought that when everybody was back from [the] Sochi [Olympics] that there'd be a lot of calls, but I guess some guys got back yesterday and maybe they're still jetlagged. We've got a couple playing tonight so I'll give it a couple more days I guess."
The trade deadline is 3 p.m. ET on March 5. The Sabres, last in the overall NHL standings, have nine players in the final year of their contracts who can be unrestricted free agents this summer. Of those nine, goalie Ryan Miller and captain Steve Ott figure to draw the most attention from contending teams.
BUFFALO -- With the Olympic break over, the NHL season is heading into the stretch run. The Carolina Hurricanes start their push to make the Stanley Cup Playoffs against the Buffalo Sabres at First Niagara Center on Tuesday night.
The Hurricanes enter the game three points behind the Detroit Red Wings for the final wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference, and they'll have starting goalie Cam Ward back in the lineup.
Ward hasn't played since Dec. 31 against the Montreal Canadiens because of a lower-body injury. He was the first goalie off at the morning skate and appears likely to start.
"I think it's going to be a lot like the first game of the year," Hurricanes coach Kirk Muller said. "Everyone has high expectations. It's like a clean slate. On our part everyone is healthy. We just mentioned to our guys, right from the drop of the puck, I assume the intensity is going to be high and everyone's going to be recharged restarting, and it's going to be full bore from here to the end now."
TORONTO – The Vancouver Canucks are hoping to start the break during the 2014 Sochi Olympics on a high note. The Canucks have lost six straight games and are winless in 15 of the past 19 games as they face off against the Toronto Maple Leafs at Air Canada Center on Saturday.
The Canucks had a very light morning skate with just Eddie Lack and Roberto Luongo on the ice taking shots. Luongo was off the ice first and will likely get the start.
Fortunes have been different for the Maple Leafs. Toronto has won 10 of their past 13 games and sits one point behind second-place Tampa Bay in the Atlantic Division. The Maple Leafs have been led by the scoring of Phil Kessel, who has 13 goals and 30 points in the past 20 games.
The Maple Leafs did not hold a morning skate. Jonathan Bernier is expected to get the start for the sixth straight game.
TORONTO – The Battle of Ontario is never lacking for story lines, and the matchup between the Toronto Maple Leafs and Ottawa Senators at Air Canada Center on Saturday night is no different.
The Maple Leafs lead the Senators in the Atlantic Division by six points going into the game, and for them it's a chance to put a little distance between themselves and their cross-province rival, who hold two games in hand.
"I don't think there needs [to be] any extra motivation for this game," Maple Leafs forward Nazem Kadri said. "They're kind of right on our tails in the standings. We want to try to keep them in our rear-view as much as possible."
Kadri has been a key player for the Maple Leafs lately and has scored 12 points in the past 8 games. Toronto is 8-1-1 in the past 10 games.
The Maple Leafs held an optional skate but have a pair of forwards dealing with injuries. Carter Ashton has a swollen hand and Peter Holland is dealing with "lace bite," an inflammation of the foot tendons caused by tight skates.
"It's a new one for me," Maple Leafs coach Randy Carlyle said. "To me it's crazy. It's something that a guy wears a pair of new skates in the morning, plays the game that night, and the next morning's got lace bite. Go figure. I'm at a loss to explain it."
TORONTO -- The Toronto Maple Leafs head into the game against the Florida Panthers on Thursday night having won six of the past eight games. The Maple Leafs thought they would get forward Trevor Smith back in the lineup, but he had a setback this week in his recovery from a broken hand.
"Trevor Smith is not available," Maple Leafs coach Randy Carlyle said. "Not the hand, if you can believe it. He hurt himself in the weight room. So we thought we'd have him available, but two days ago he came up with an ailment from a post-practice workout."
Laich is dealing with a groin injury that has kept him out of action for parts of this season, but he did participate in the morning skate.
"I'm sure he's going through so many bumps and bruises that I'm sure he's hypersensitive to what's going on down there, which is natural for what he's gone through," Oates said. "You look at every single game, you get hit so many times you don't realize. Faceoffs you get poked and prodded that maybe it was just something like that that he thinks, 'Oh no, here we go again.' And he skated today and he felt pretty good.
"I'm sure in his own mind he wants to make sure he doesn't set it back. He said to me, 'What if I play [Tuesday] and I can't play Thursday?' I'm like, 'Well, you can't play [Tuesday].' But I don't know how you think like that. He's obviously over-thinking it and hopefully he felt good out there and he can conquer it."
Forward Philip Varone was called up from the American Hockey League on Wednesday and will make his NHL debut Thursday.
"I don't think words can describe it," Varone said. "Extremely humbled, extremely excited, nervous. I mean, it's been a long time coming. I've worked my whole life for it. When it finally comes you don't expect it."
Varone was a 2009 fifth-round pick (No. 147) of the San Jose Sharks but never signed with the team. He's spent the past two seasons in the AHL with the Rochester Americans. He'll play Thursday on the third line with Marcus Foligno and Brian Flynn.
"It's always frustrating when you're injured, so it's good to be back with the guys in the locker room and everything that comes with it," Tallinder said.
Sabres interim coach Ted Nolan said Mark Pysyk would sit out so Tallinder can play. Tallinder likely will be paired with Tyler Myers, his usual defense partner.
"We just found out this morning that he's really good to go," Nolan said of Tallinder. "We haven't really had a chance to think about exactly who he's going to go with. Myers seems to be the guy who's really going right now. It could be a big benefit for him to play with the top guy right off the hop."
"It's not like any other rehab when you break an ankle and you can just say six weeks and you're back and it's healed," Bolland said. "You cut a tendon and it's got to re-heal itself. You've got to do the rehab, do the movements with the trainers and in the gym. It's not fun. It's grueling.
"You're always in the gym, you're always doing the things. You want to get back on the ice and you want to play but these are the things you've got to do to get back on the ice. Now I'm at that step back on the ice. Now it's just trying to get back into the game."
Bolland had surgery on the tendon shortly after he sustained the injury. It's a good sign that he's returned to the ice to skate, but it doesn't come without pain.
"A hat trick, a great night in Montreal. But this'll do, I can do a hat trick here," Nättinen said describing what he pictured happening in his first NHL game. "I'm just trying to enjoy all the minutes I'll get there and play as good as I can for this team."
Myers has served his three-game suspension for delivering an illegal check to the head of New Jersey Devils forward Dainius Zubrus and will return to his spot on the Sabres' top defensive pairing.
"I'm not the type of guy that's reckless or looking to injure somebody and I think on that play I was trying to be aggressive," Myers said. "At my height and my size I think it's going to happen sometimes. I have to be aware of it for sure, but I don't think I want to change my game."
Sabres interim coach Ted Nolan says Stafford is ready to go after he missed the past four games with an upper-body injury. He has four goals and 13 points in 41 games this season. Forward John Scott will also suit up against the Maple Leafs. Linus Omark and Marcus Foligno will sit to make room.
BUFFALO -- The Philadelphia Flyers will get Matt Read back in the lineup when they face the Buffalo Sabres at First Niagara Center on Tuesday (7:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN, TSN). Read missed the past six games after sustaining a concussion against the Calgary Flames on Dec. 31. He has 10 goals and 19 points this season.
"He's an every-situation player for us," Flyers coach Craig Berube said. "Penalty kill, power play, 5-on-5. He's fast, has the ability to put the puck in the net, so he adds speed. Like I said, he's an all-around kind of player."
Berube said there wouldn't be any limitations and would use Read in all situations.
The Flyers arrived to Buffalo having lost their past two games by a combined score of 10-4.
"Bolland will hopefully start skating with us after these two games. Thursday is the target date," Maple Leafs coach Randy Carlyle said. "He's had to travel to Montreal to have a new boot specifically designed to relieve pressure around where his injury, the incision, the repair, was done and that boot is supposed to be made available to us after this weekend. Hopefully he'll join our hockey club for practice on Thursday and then that's the road to recovery. The plan is for him to make the road trip with us and practice a week from Monday."
Brodeur, 41, has not been a backup goalie during his 20-season career spent entirely with the Devils and it has him considering what happens next.
"My heart is," Brodeur told reporters about playing one more season. "My body could be a different story. We'll see. I'll see what the best scenario is for me if it's back in New Jersey or somewhere else. But right now, my heart is here to try and finish strong and prove that I can still be a big impact in hockey games."
"There's either a flu bug or food poisoning," Carlyle said. "There's just too many of them under the weather and having the same symptoms. We don't quite have a finger on exactly what it is. We think that there's people that weren't skating this morning that will be available to us tonight."
BUFFALO -- The announcement of the Olympic rosters proved to be an unkind one for a pair of Carolina Hurricanes players. Team captain Eric Staal was not named to Canada's roster and forward Alexander Semin did not make the cut for Russia.
Staal was a member of Canada's 2010 gold-medal winning team at the Vancouver Olympics, but was hampered this season by a knee injury he suffered at the 2013 IIHF World Championship after a knee-on-knee collision with Vancouver Canucks defenseman Alexander Edler of Sweden. He's currently injured with a separate lower-body injury.
"It [stinks] with that tough injury and for Eric not having the summer he wanted, probably, to get his body right," said Jordan Staal, Eric's brother. "Obviously he was ready for the season, but it's unfortunate that is the way it is."
In the Vancouver Olympics, Staal had one goal and five assists in seven games for Canada.
Newly acquired forward Zenon Konopka will be in the lineup and forward Ville Leino will be out with a nagging lower-body injury. Konopka was picked up off waivers from the Minnesota Wild on Friday.
"I pride myself on other players not wanting to play against me," Konopka said. "Not just because of the fighting and hitting but just overall strength. I’m looking forward to that and also the penalty kill. I killed a lot early in Minnesota and kind of everywhere else I’ve been."
TORONTO -- The Buffalo Sabres used the three-day holiday break to recover from a flu bug that forced the team to use 16 skaters in a 2-1 overtime win against the Phoenix Coyotes on Monday.
A full roster of players hit the ice during the morning skate Friday ahead of their game against the Toronto Maple Leafs (7:30 p.m. ET, TSN).
"They look a lot better [Friday] so that's good," Sabres interim coach Ted Nolan said. "Anytime you have a couple days' break, especially this time of year, it's good for your emotional spirits. So they came back in good spirits."
"When I signed [with Edmonton] this year I wanted to play in the NHL," Omark said. "I wanted to get the opportunity right away but I didn't get it with Edmonton. So I'm glad that they traded me and I get a chance here to show what I can do."
Defenseman Mark Pysyk and forward Johan Larsson were called up from their American Hockey League affiliate in Rochester. Following the optional morning skate, interim coach Ted Nolan said both players would be in the lineup against the Coyotes. The Sabres have a few players dealing with illness.
"We're hoping that they're ready to go," Nolan said. "Four or five of them called in this morning and couldn't make it out of bed. We're hoping by game time they'll feel a bit better."
TORONTO – The Detroit Red Wings will get one of their many injured players back when they face the Toronto Maple Leafs at Air Canada Centre on Saturday night in a preview of the 2014 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic.
Defenseman Danny DeKeyser will be back in the lineup after missing the past 15 games with a separated shoulder.
"I'm really excited about it," DeKeyser said. "There's a good history here between Detroit and Toronto, two pretty storied franchises. It's going to be fun. It's Saturday night so it's going to be a great atmosphere and should be a great game."
Defenseman David Warsofsky will make his NHL debut. Warsofsky was called up when the team sent down defenseman Kevan Miller on Wednesday. He's spent the past three seasons with the Bruins' American Hockey League team in Providence.
"You'll see he's a very good skating, smart, heady player," Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli said. "We have one of those like Torey Krug, so I'm anxious to see how our [defense] will look [Thursday] with two of them."
Warsofsky likely will be with Matt Bartkowski on the third defensive pairing. Goalie Chad Johnson is expected to get his ninth start of the season. Johnson got the win Oct. 23 when the Bruins beat the Sabres 5-2.
Pysyk has been a steady player in the Sabres lineup this season, playing in 31 of of their 33 games with no goals and four assists.
"Obviously Mark can play in this League and on this team right now, but is he at the mature level he could be? Not yet," Sabres interim coach Ted Nolan said. "He needs a bit more time to mature. He's a different type of send-down, he's not going down for a long time. He's just going down for a few days and go over to the Spengler Cup and he'll join us right after that."
Sulzer and Porter are expected to play against the Jets.
Lupul has missed the past seven games with a groin injury; he'll return playing on a line with center Peter Holland and wing Nikolai Kulemin. The Maple Leafs went 2-3-2 without Lupul in the lineup.
"To put it bluntly, we're not playing very well," Lupul said. "We're not playing how we'd like. We're giving up too many chances and probably not creating enough. We've talked about some things. Penalties are killing us. … So we're going to try and stay out of the box and give our penalty kill a break, give our goalies a break, and go from there."
"It's huge for me," Foligno said. "I think I was set back because Ted wanted to show how I have to play. Fourth line, third line, second line, first line -- doesn’t matter. You have to bring your game every night. You're on a scoring line but it doesn't mean you're going to score every night. … This is going to be a big game tonight for myself to know that I can play there."
Forward Ville Leino, who had been centering the second line, will be scratched against the Senators in favor of John Scott.
“He’s a very smart player. He makes great plays and he’s got great speed also,” Bruins forwardPatrice Bergeron said of Spooner. “He is a young player and I think he’s learning to become a professional, and also a great player on both sides of the rink. I think that’s something we preach strong here in Boston.”
BUFFALO -- The New York Rangers and Buffalo Sabres each held an optional morning skate ahead of their game at First Niagara Center on Thursday. However, both teams had news to share off the ice.
The Sabres announced they would loan forward Mikhail Grigorenko to Russia for the 2014 IIHF World Junior Championship. He will leave the team Sunday to attend a pre-tournament camp in Russia. The 2014 WJC runs from Dec. 26 to Jan. 5, 2014.
"I can't be sitting in the press box. I need to play. Everybody understands this," Grigorenko said. "It's a really good opportunity because it's a really good level there. [It's] probably not as good as the NHL but I would say it's close. So it's going to be really good for me."
Sabres coach Ted Nolan said forward Cody McCormick will play against the Rangers after missing the past four games with an upper-body injury. Defenseman Alexander Sulzer (undisclosed) will be placed on injured reserve to make room for him.
Defenseman Jamie McBain also will return to the lineup after being a healthy scratch for the past four games; defenseman Brayden McNabb will be a healthy scratch.
"I know some people perceive it as a demotion and we didn't look at it that way," Maple Leafs coach Randy Carlyle said. "We look at it as trying to add some balance to our lineup and with Trevor Smith playing very well for us, we thought that that would be a boost for Clarkson."
"[I'm] obviously very excited," D'Agostini said about being picked up by the Sabres. "The thought of someone wanting you. It's just another new story for me, so hopefully I'll get off to a good one tonight."
BUFFALO -- The matchup between the Buffalo Sabres and Montreal Canadiens on Wednesday at First Niagara Center features a pair of goaltenders who might represent his country at the 2014 Sochi Olympics.
Sabres coach Ted Nolan confirmed Ryan Miller would get the start in goal against Carey Price of the Canadiens. Miller was the U.S. starter at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics and is vying for a spot on the 2014 roster for Sochi, and Price is in the mix to start for Canada.
"They're both playing extremely well since the beginning of the season," Canadiens forward Daniel Briere said. 'I don't think they see it that way. What's important for both of them, I'm sure, is to get a win, get their team on the winning side. They're both very competitive."
"Oh yeah, he's very excited," Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin said about Grabovski playing against his old team. "He told me it's a strange feeling to come back in a different way, different locker room. He's excited. It's nice to see the guy who wants to improve and wants to show how good he is."
Grabovski is third on the Capitals with 19 points, trailing Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom. He struggled last season with the Maple Leafs, collecting 16 points in 48 games.
"He's done a great job, he really has," Capitals coach Adam Oates said. "Anytime you make a change, for him coming to a new system, new team, it takes a little while to get going. I think what really helped him was obviously opening night, he had a great night. Since then, he's fit in with his linemates and done a great job."
"It's a little bit tough when guys keep going down. Lines are always changing," Kadri said. "It's not like you can play with the same guys consistently over a few weeks. It seems like we're together for a couple of games, something happens and you've got to mix it up."
In 18 games Kadri has five goals and 14 points, putting him fifth on the team. He joins the team's top two scorers on the first line.
Thomas Vanek skated with the team during the morning skate but will remain out of action with an upper-body injury. Joining him in the press box will be Michael Grabner, who took line rushes with Vanek and defenseman Radek Martinek but will be a healthy scratch. Grabner has gone 18 games without a goal and without a point in 12 games.
"I had a good talk with him," Islanders coach Jack Capuano said. "Sometimes when you're squeezing your stick and things just don't seem to go your way, sometimes it's good to take a step back. I normally don't talk about conversations with players that I have with [the media], but [Grabner] is going to be fine for us."
The Islanders enter the game having won just two of their past seven games.
Holland will be in the lineup Saturday night against the Buffalo Sabres and will likely be on one of the top two lines.
"He's a big, young, skilled center ice man," Maple Leafs coach Randy Carlyle said. "He's been able to provide offense at the junior level and the American Hockey League level and he's going to get an opportunity to play with some of our better players."
The Sabres worked through drills during the morning skate after a vigorous practice Thursday. There will be a few notable switches in the team's lineup as Zemgus Girgensons and Ville Leino will play center and Marcus Foligno will return to the wing.
"We want to put these players in a position where they feel comfortable so there's no excuses," Nolan said of the moves.
"I've been playing around 10 or 11 minutes and not really [on the] power play so you've got to do the best in your time," Leino said. "I could do a little better, do a little more. I've got another chance to go at it [Tuesday]."
Sabres coach Ron Rolston said he'll use Leino on the power play against the Kings.
"He's a guy we'd like to have in our top six," Rolston said. "He's a guy that we need production out of him to create scoring opportunities for us, whether it's 5-on-5 or power play."
"I have a lot of friends over there and I spent a lot of time with a lot of people I'm close with, but it's another game," Clarkson said. "I'm a part of something new and I've got to move forward. But I don't know, maybe as the game gets closer maybe I'll feel a little different, but it's definitely the difference in warm-up wearing a different jersey than I'm used to."
Clarkson played seven seasons with the Devils, highlighted by a 30-goal season and trip to the Stanley Cup Final in 2011-12.
The Sabres placed forward Patrick Kaleta on waivers in an effort to make room for the return of forward Corey Tropp and to try to help Kaleta save his future.
"This was a move we thought was necessary to help Pat change his game and preserve his career in this League," Sabres general manager Darcy Regier said in a statement to the media. "We believe in Pat as a person and we hope he will continue his career in our organization and, if the circumstances are right, with the Buffalo Sabres."
BUFFALO -- The Buffalo Sabres and Dallas Stars each have plenty of drama going on off the ice, but on it there's still a game to be played Monday night.
For the Sabres, newly acquired Matt Moulson was on the ice for the morning skate and will make his debut against the Stars.
"I think that was important that we got somebody that could come in and help us," Sabres coach Ron Rolston said. "When you lose Thomas [Vanek] it's good to get somebody back in the room that has that presence."
Rolston said he anticipates Moulson will take Vanek's spot on their top line with Cody Hodgson at center.
Bernier's appearance likely means James Reimer will get the start against the Penguins. Bernier has earned the decision in the last four games for the Maple Leafs. In Reimer's last start, he left the game just 32 seconds into the team's 3-2 loss to the Carolina Hurricanes on Oct. 17 after colliding with Leivo. Prior to that, he stopped 36 shots in a 4-1 win against the Minnesota Wild.
One player who was not at the morning skate was Joffrey Lupul. Maple Leafs coach Randy Carlyle said they've sent Lupul for a CT scan to see if he has more than a bruised foot. Lupul was hurt at practice on Thursday after taking a shot off his ankle. It is doubtful he will play Saturday against Pittsburgh.
BUFFALO -- The Boston Bruins will look to extend their winning streak to three games Wednesday against the Buffalo Sabres (8 p.m. ET, NBCSN, TSN2, RDS2) with a new face in goal.
Veteran Chad Johnson will get the start against the Bruins, and it comes after not seeing any game action in the past 32 days.
"I think we're looking forward to seeing him win his first game. I think it's important for him, it's important for our hockey team,” Bruins coach Claude Julien said. "I think it's important for him to get into some game situations now. It's been a while since he last played. We need to be extremely good in front of him and help him out there."
Johnson hasn't played since Sept. 21, when he shut out the Detroit Red Wings 2-0 in a preseason game. He'll be facing a Sabres team that's struggled offensively with 12 goals in 10 games.
TORONTO -- There are plenty of familiar faces facing each other Tuesday at Air Canada Centre in Toronto with the Anaheim Ducks in town to face the Toronto Maple Leafs.
On the Maple Leafs side, coach Randy Carlyle used to coach the Ducks and forwards Joffrey Lupul and Troy Bodie used to play for Anaheim. Anaheim features former Maple Leafs defenseman Francois Beauchemin as well as a roster filled with players who used to play for Carlyle. Those involved on both sides are downplaying the reunion aspect of the game.
"We need the two points," Lupul said. "They're a team that's obviously playing at a high level right now so we're looking forward to challenging ourselves, to measuring ourselves against this team. We had Chicago the other day, we didn't play as well as we would've liked against Chicago. Now a chance with Anaheim, another one of the top teams in the West right now. It's good for us to measure ourselves to see where we stand."
BUFFALO -- The Buffalo Sabres had an optional skate Saturday so their lineup for their game Saturday against the visiting Colorado Avalanche won't be known until the teams take the ice at 7 p.m. ET.
Sabres coach Ron Rolston was able to confirm one player returning to action would be forward Zemgus Girgensons. Girgensons had missed the Sabres' game Thursday against the Vancouver Canucks after being struck in the face by a Tyler Myers shot Tuesday in New York.
"[Healing] was quick," Girgensons said. "The day after the eye was totally shut, but now it's perfect."
Forward Cody McCormick was hurt against Vancouver after taking a slap shot in the leg and will sit out Saturday. Rolston was coy about what other moves could happen, saying it's possible 2013 first-round pick defenseman Nikita Zadorov, who has been out all season with a badly cut finger, could play.
"He's ready to go at any time," Rolston said of Zadorov. "It could be [Saturday]."
"I'm not going to go back on the trade now, it's been like over a year and a half," Hodgson said ahead of the Canucks' visit to Buffalo on Thursday. "I'm happy here, I feel great as a Buffalo Sabre and I'm happy I'm going to be here the next six years."
Kassian started the season with a suspension from a high-sticking incident in the preseason. He said coming back to Buffalo is a positive thing for him.
"It'll be good. It'll be fun," Kassian said. "I'll have a lot of friends and family here so I'm looking forward to it."
"James van Riemsdyk is a question mark for tonight," coach Randy Carlyle said. "So we'll see how he responds to some treatment here now and later on today. We'll make a decision based upon where he's at for tonight."
BUFFALO -- Jason Pominville's return to his former home to play against his former team, the Buffalo Sabres, will get all the attention Monday, but both teams have some notable moves to be made in their lineups.
One player returning for Buffalo is defenseman Henrik Tallinder, and he offered a unique perspective on Pominville's return to Buffalo as an opponent.
"I think we all go through it at some point in our career," Tallinder said. "I think it's more him getting back to his old building where he has played for so many years. I remember when I got back here [as a member of the New Jersey Devils], it's always like a boost or you get a little bit more jacked up because it's your old building.
"He's a good player, he's a great player. It's always going tough to play against him, but after you practice against him for so long you learn his weakness and what his strong suit is," Tallinder said with a smile.
That won't be the only change in Buffalo's lineup, as a pair of rookies will be changing places. Forward Johan Larsson will start on the third line in place of Mikhail Grigorenko. Larsson said he's ready to go after being a healthy scratch Tuesday against the Tampa Bay Lightning.
"I just have to go out there and play my game and do the hard work and do the small details good and then we'll see from there," he said.
Foligno will start on the Sabres' second line alongside a pair of familiar faces in Tyler Ennis and Drew Stafford. Two seasons ago, this trio was one of the best lines in the NHL. Sabres coach Ron Rolston said he's looking to see some players start to jell together.
"He can provide a lot of energy for us, so we're looking for that tonight and a physical element out of him," he said. "It's just finding the chemistry on lines, and I think [Foligno]'s a guy that can make space for guys for us and get to the net. Those are some of the things we've been struggling with."
TORONTO -- The big news out of Toronto on Saturday concerns forward Nikolai Kulemin. Coach Randy Carlyle says the Russian winger has a chip in his ankle that will keep him out of action for at least two weeks. Rookie Spencer Abbott has been called up from the Toronto Marlies to take his place.
"To say it's not a significant injury would be incorrect," Carlyle said of Kulemin.
The Leafs will have to hope Abbott's high-scoring ways from his time at the University of Maine can translate to the NHL.
The news of Kulemin's injury managed to overshadow the news of 2012 first-round pick Morgan Rielly making his NHL debut tonight. With Mark Fraser on long-term injured reserve with a knee injury, it opens up the opportunity for Rielly to jump into action. He was paired up with Jake Gardiner during the morning skate.
James Reimer started in Toronto's season-opening victory over the Montreal Canadiens and is expected to start Saturday. He will bring a sterling 8-1-1 record against Ottawa into the game.
Buffalo's fourth line will see things get a bit beefier as Cody McCormick will sit out in favor of 6-foot-8 John Scott. Coach Ron Rolston said he wanted to give Scott a chance to play after he sat out the team's 2-1 loss to the Detroit Red Wings on Wednesday.
Not only is it a great idea, but if you don't [start using analytics] you're going to fall behind. You have to be on the cutting edge. It was [Arizona Coyotes assistant general manager] Darcy Regier who said, 'If you didn't invent it, you have to be the second- or third-best copier, because if you're fourth or fifth you've got no chance.'
— Detroit Red Wings coach Mike Babcock on his interest in advanced statistical analysis