BUFFALO – The Buffalo Sabres will have leading scorer Tyler Ennis back in the lineup but may be without defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen when they face the Toronto Maple Leafs on Wednesday (7:30 p.m. ET; SN, MSG-B).
Ennis skated Wednesday and participated in line rushes on the first line with Johan Larsson and Matt Moulson. Ennis also resumed his place on the point of the first power-play unit.
"When he first went out we just thought it was going to be a couple of days and we said it would be a week to protect ourselves," Sabres coach Ted Nolan said. "He's healed pretty quick… I don't think it was all that serious to begin with."
Ennis missed the past two games with a shoulder injury. He leads the Sabres in goals (19) and points (42).
"Tyler is a big part of this team," Nolan said. "His enthusiastic approach to the game, and his skill level and his competitive level, certainly rubs off on all the young guys."
Ristolainen (illness) did not skate on Wednesday.
"He didn't feel very well this morning when he woke up," Nolan said. "We kept him in bed and hopefully he gets a little bit better by game time. If not, he'll be out."
If Ristolainen is out, Tyson Strachan will take his spot in the lineup. Goalie Anders Lindback will start for the Sabres.
Toronto held an optional skate and is off a 3-1 win against the Tampa Bay Lightning on Tuesday. The Maple Leafs sent forward Sam Carrick to Toronto of the American Hockey League on Tuesday and forward Casey Bailey will play in his second NHL game against Buffalo.
"In his first game I thought he did fairly well," Maple Leafs coach Peter Horachek said. "We're going to be watching closely and we're going to be hopefully seeing what he needs to be working on in the future and where he needs to go. But he's a good kid and I expect him to continue into that direction so I think he'll get it pretty quick."
Goalie Jonathan Bernier will start for the Maple Leafs.
In the past 20 games between the Maple Leafs and Sabres, the home team has won 18 of them. The Sabres have been particularly strong at First Niagara Center, where they're 14-1-1 against the Maple Leafs in the past 16 games and have won the past four. The Maple Leafs haven't won in Buffalo since Jan. 29, 2013.
"It's no secret that we have not had success here or the amount of success that we would like," Maple Leafs captain Dion Phaneuf said. "We haven't, for some reason, we've had a tough time starting games and we want to change that. Tonight we're here to play. We've come to the rink in the morning, we've had our meetings, guys are prepared and we've talked about it. We want to play well in this building, a building that we've historically had trouble playing well in. We want to have a good game tonight."
Here are the projected lineups:
James van Riemsdyk – Tyler Bozak – Phil Kessel
Leo Komarov – Nazem Kadri – Joakim Lindstrom
David Booth – Trevor Smith – Joffrey Lupul
Casey Bailey – Zach Sill – Richard Panik
Eric Brewer – Dion Phaneuf
Jake Gardiner – Morgan Rielly
Tim Erixon – TJ Brennan
Scratched: Brandon Kozun
Injured: Peter Holland (lower body), Nathan Horton (back), Stephane Robidas (shoulder), Roman Polak (sports hernia)
Matt Moulson – Johan Larsson – Tyler Ennis
Marcus Foligno – Mikhail Grigorenko – Brian Gionta
Cody Hodgson – Matt Ellis – Zac Dalpe
Nicolas Deslauriers – Philip Varone – Patrick Kaleta
Andre Benoit – Zach Bogosian
Mike Weber – Tyson Strachan
Nikita Zadorov – Andrej Meszaros
Scratched: Rasmus Ristolainen (illness)
Injured: Matt Hackett (lower body), Jerry D'Amigo (facial surgery), Zemgus Girgensons (lower body), Josh Gorges (lower body), Chad Johnson (lower body), Cody McCormick (blood clots), Evander Kane (shoulder)
Status report: With Ennis back in the lineup, forward Tim Schaller was sent back to Rochester of the AHL.
Who's hot: Meszaros has four goals the past two games. He scored three goals in his previous 52. Ristolainen has a three-game point streak and has three goals and an assist during that time… Rielly has a three-game point streak with a goal and two assists.