MONTREAL – The Buffalo Sabres will welcome their leading scorer back to the lineup Saturday night when they face the Montreal Canadiens for the second time in four days.
Thomas Vanek is fully recovered after taking a Christian Ehrhoff slap shot off his left hip when the Sabres visited Bell Centre on Tuesday night, a 3-2 overtime win for Buffalo.
Struggling Drew Stafford will be a healthy scratch for Buffalo, and Nathan Gerbe draws in for the Sabres.
For the Canadiens, Ryan White will miss the game with a lower-body injury suffered in a 5-2 win Thursday night against the New York Islanders. He will be replaced on Montreal’s fourth line by Mike Blunden, who was called up from the American Hockey League’s Hamilton Bulldogs on Friday.
Rene Bourque, who has missed the past month with a concussion, did not skate with the team for a second straight day after practicing with the Canadiens on Wednesday then making the trip to Long Island on Thursday. He missed an optional practice Friday and was not on the ice Saturday morning.
Defenseman Yannick Weber, who hurt his knee two weeks ago, did skate with the team Saturday morning for the first time since his injury.
Here are the projected lineups for the Sabres and Canadiens on Saturday night:
Steve Ott – Cody Hodgson – Jason Pominville
Thomas Vanek – Tyler Ennis – Ville Leino
Nathan Gerbe – Jochen Hecht – Patrick Kaleta
Marcus Foligno – Kevin Porter – Brian Flynn
Tyler Myers – Christian Ehrhoff
Mike Weber – Jordan Leopold
Mark Pysyk – Robyn Regehr
Scratched: John Scott, Drew Stafford
Injured: Andrej Sekera (knee)
Michael Ryder – Tomas Plekanec – Brian Gionta
Max Pacioretty – David Desharnais – Brendan Gallagher
Alex Galchenyuk – Lars Eller – Colby Armstrong
Travis Moen – Gabriel Dumont – Mike Blunden
Josh Gorges – P.K. Subban
Andrei Markov – Alexei Emelin
Francis Bouillon – Jarred Tinordi
Scratched: Tomas Kaberle