ISLANDERS (33-18-1) at SABRES (16-34-3)
TV: MSG+, MSG, BELL TV
BUFFALO -- The Buffalo Sabres will have forward Marcus Foligno back in the lineup on Sunday against the New York Islanders.
Foligno missed the past 19 games with a broken hand he sustained in a fight against the Boston Bruins on Dec. 21. The Sabres have gone 3-16-0 in his absence.
“Marcus is a big, powerful forward, and big guys got to do certain things, and he was just starting to do it with the best of them in the league,” Sabres coach Ted Nolan said.
Foligno replaces Cody Hodgson in the Sabres lineup. Hodgson has two goals and six assists in 51 games this season.
“We’ve got to get more out of him, and right now it’s not working,” Nolan said. “We’ll let him watch.”
This is the third time Hodgson has been a healthy scratch this season.
“There’s a lot of nights you lay awake wondering what could be said,” Nolan said. “Are you saying the right things? Are you saying not enough, not enough ice time with the right people? All those things you go through. When push comes to shove, what it really boils down to, I believe, is you’ve got to find that inner strength and find a way through it.”
Michal Neuvirth will make his first start since Jan. 17.
The Islanders have a few lineup changes for Sunday.
New York placed forward Michael Grabner on injured reserve with an upper body injury and recalled forwards Colin McDonald and Harry Zolnierczyk from the Bridgeport Sound Tigers of the American Hockey League on an emergency basis. Zolnierczyk will replace Grabner and McDonald replaces Cal Clutterbuck who will miss the game with an upper body injury.
“I think the adrenaline will be there for these guys,” Islanders coach Jack Capuano said. “Obviously we’re going to need all four lines with the amount of hockey that we’ve played. They’ve played the same system, they had a good training camp with us, and they’re veteran guys – they’ve been around so we just want to see some structure. We want to see them play with a lot of confidence and, like I told them, they’re here to help our team win.”
On defense, Lubomir Visnovsky will replace Calvin de Haan. De Haan was cut in the face by a skate blade in a 2-1 loss to the Bruins on Saturday. Jaroslav Halak will start in goal.
Here are the projected lineups:
Anders Lee – John Tavares – Josh Bailey
Mikhail Grabovski – Frans Nielsen – Nikolay Kulemin
Harry Zolnierczyk – Brock Nelson – Ryan Strome
Matt Martin – Casey Cizikas – Colin McDonald
Lubomir Visnovsky – Travis Hamonic
Nick Leddy – Johnny Boychuk
Thomas Hickey – Brian Strait
Scratched: Matt Donovan
Injured: Calvin de Haan (cut face), Cal Clutterbuck (upper body), Kyle Okposo (detached retina), Michael Grabner (upper body), Eric Boulton (lower body)
Chris Stewart – Zemgus Girgensons – Tyler Ennis
Matt Moulson – Torrey Mitchell – Brian Gionta
Marcus Foligno – Brian Flynn – Drew Stafford
Nicolas Deslauriers – Matt Ellis – Patrick Kaleta
Josh Gorges – Tyler Myers
Nikita Zadorov – Rasmus Ristolainen
Mike Weber – Tyson Strachan
Scratched: Andre Benoit, Andrej Meszaros, Cody Hodgson
Injured: Cody McCormick (blood clot)
Status Report: Hodgson was last a healthy scratch against the Vancouver Canucks on Jan. 30.
Who’s Hot: Stewart has 17 points in the past 22 games. He had three assists in a 3-2 win against the Dallas Stars on Saturday… Tavares has 11 points in the past nine games with five goals and six assists. Lee has six goals in the past 11 games and has a career-high 15 goals this season.