BUFFALO – The Buffalo Sabres will have Robin Lehner back in goal as they look to win their third straight game when they face the Boston Bruins on Friday at First Niagara Center (7 p.m. ET, MSG-B, Bell TV, NESN).
Lehner will make his first start for the Sabres since opening night. Lehner played 28 minutes on Oct. 8 against the Ottawa Senators before he left the game with a right high-ankle sprain.
"It's a little bit like training camp," Sabres coach Dan Bylsma said. "He literally went out the first day of the season and spent a long time off the ice with the injury that he had, not able to be on the ice. He worked out diligently. He spent a lot of time in the gym the best way he could. But not being on his feet, it's really been a process of training camp."
Lehner played in three games for the Rochester Americans of the American Hockey league during his recent conditioning stint, and went 1-2-0 with a .888 save percentage and 3.36 goals-against average.
"[I learned] that I can play 60 minutes," Lehner said. "It's a weird injury, especially for a goalie, but I've gone through it and going down to Rochester was good. I got to get in game situations and work on a few things and a few of mistakes there I don't do here."
While Lehner will return to action for the Sabres, defenseman Mark Pysyk will not. Pysyk is healthy, healed after the lower body injury that has kept him out of action since Nov. 17. He returned from a conditioning stint with Rochester on Monday, and didn't play in the Sabres 3-2 win against the Minnesota Wild on Tuesday.
"We've won with the lineup and, for the most part, liked our six defensemen in those games," Bylsma said. "He's not going to have to wait for a loss to get in, though."
Boston heads into the game on a three-game losing streak and have lost five of their past six games. The Bruins are 1-2-1 on their current five game road trip and are looking to close it out with a win in Buffalo.
"I think it's normal you're frustrated when you've lost three in row and the other one in overtime," Bruins coach Claude Julien said. "We're playing decently and decent isn't good enough to win hockey games, so you've got to be better and we've got to look at those situations and make them better and hopefully turn those into some wins here. Are we frustrated? Yeah, because nobody likes to lose, but it doesn't mean your frustration is going to affect your game. We need to turn that into determination and turn things around here."
The Bruins likely will be without forward David Pastrnak against the Sabres. Pastrnak last played on Monday against the New York Rangers, but missed the Bruins' 4-3 loss to the Philadelphia Flyers on Wednesday.
"David Pastrnak skated this morning," Julien said. "I don't think he'll be going again tonight."
Jonas Gustavsson was the first goalie off for the Bruins on Friday and is expected to start.
Here are the projected lineups:
Brad Marchand – Patrice Bergeron – Brett Connolly
Matt Beleskey – Ryan Spooner – Loui Eriksson
Frank Vatrano – Joonas Kemppainen – Jimmy Hayes
Zac Rinaldo – Max Talbot – Landon Ferraro
Zdeno Chara – Zach Trotman
Dennis Seidenberg – Colin Miller
Torey Krug – Kevan Miller
Injured: David Pastrnak (upper body), David Krejci (upper body), Adam McQuaid (upper body), Chris Kelly (broken left femur)
Scratched: Joe Morrow, Tyler Randell
Evander Kane – Ryan O'Reilly – Jamie McGinn
Zemgus Girgensons – Jack Eichel – Sam Reinhart
Marcus Foligno – Johan Larsson – Brian Gionta
Matt Moulson – Tim Schaller – David Legwand
Josh Gorges – Rasmus Ristolainen
Jake McCabe – Zach Bogosian
Mike Weber – Cody Franson
Injured: Tyler Ennis (upper body), Nicolas Deslauriers (lower body), Cody McCormick (blood clot)
Scratched: Carlo Colaiacovo, Mark Pysyk
Status Update: Bylsma said his lineup would be a game-time decision, but Pysyk and Colaiacovo were the last two defensemen off the ice.
Who's Hot: O'Reilly has a four-game points streak with two goals and two assists during that time. Foligno, Kane, Gionta, and Ristolainen are all on two-game point streaks… Spooner has an assist in two straight games.