PITTSBURGH -- Injuries will require both the Buffalo Sabres and Pittsburgh Penguins to make changes to their respective lineups when they meet Saturday at Consol Energy Center.
Pittsburgh will be without forward James Neal for the first time this season, as he will sit with an upper-body injury. Neal played in the Penguins' 3-0 win over the New Jersey Devils Thursday night, but left after 3:49 of ice time.
He will be replaced on the second line with Evgeni Malkin and Jussi Jokinen by 21-year-old forward Beau Bennett. Bennett competed against Jokinen for the spot alongside Malkin and Neal through training camp, but skated next to Brandon Sutter and Chuck Kobasew to begin the season.
Bennett didn't want Neal's injury to be the reason for his promotion from the third line, but he said he welcomes the opportunity to play next to Malkin.
"It's exciting," Bennett said. "I know we're going to be switching up the lines quite a bit. So, it will be awesome to start the game with [Malkin] and try to develop some chemistry and just hopefully everything goes well."
Buffalo defenseman Henrik Tallinder suffered an upper-body injury in Buffalo's 1-0 loss to the Ottawa Senators Friday night and will sit tonight. Jamie McBain is projected to be paired with Tyler Myers in place of Tallinder.
The Carolina Hurricanes traded McBain to the Sabres during the 2013 draft along with their second-round pick in exchange for Andrej Sekera. McBain said he was disappointed with his performance last season and is looking forward to a fresh start, starting against Pittsburgh.
"It was just kind of one of those bad years that happen," McBain said. "It's something that, just the puck wasn't bouncing my way and off days weren't going as well as I liked, either. But I'm definitely excited to be in Buffalo and to play tonight."
Buffalo is also likely to start goalie Jhonas Enroth with Ryan Miller playing against Ottawa. Miller is listed as questionable with a lower-body injury, but was likely to miss the start regardless.
Here are the projected lineups for Saturday's game.
Chris Kunitz – Sidney Crosby – Pascal Dupuis
Jussi Jokinen – Evgeni Malkin – Beau Bennett
Chuck Kobasew – Brandon Sutter – Dustin Jeffrey
Tanner Glass – Joe Vitale – Craig Adams
Brooks Orpik – Paul Martin
Rob Scuderi – Matt Niskanen
Olli Maatta – Robert Bortuzzo
Injured: Matt D'Agostini (lower body), James Neal (upper body), Kris Letang (lower leg), Tomas Vokoun (pelvis)
Scratched: Deryk Engelland
Notes: Kris Letang skated briefly before the Penguins' morning skate and Penguins coach Dan Bylsma said he is progressing well. Bylsma also said he hopes Matt D'Agostini will begin practicing Oct. 16 or 18.
Thomas Vanek – Cody Hodgson – Drew Stafford
Tyler Ennis – Johan Larsson – Steve Ott
Zemgus Girgensons – Mikhail Grigorenko – Brian Flynn
John Scott – Kevin Porter – Patrick Kaleta
Christian Ehrhoff – Mark Pysyk
Jamie McBain – Tyler Myers
Mike Weber – Rasmus Ristolainen
Injured: Ville Leino (ribs), Corey Tropp (jaw), Marcus Foligno (shoulder), Ryan Miller (lower body), Henrik Tallinder (upper body).
Scratched: Cody McCormick, Nikita Zadorov
Notes: Buffalo recalled goalie Matt Hackett from the American Hockey League's Rochester American at 1 a.m. Saturday. He will serve as the Sabres' backup goalie. Defenseman Alexander Sulzer was also recalled to replace injured defenseman Henrik Tallinder.