Penguins' Kunitz, Niskanen game-time decisionsby Joe Yerdon
BUFFALO -- The Pittsburgh Penguins and Buffalo Sabres may be without key players when they face each other at First Niagara Center on Wednesday (7:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN, TSN2, RDS2).
Penguins forward Chris Kunitz and defenseman Matt Niskanen each missed the morning skate and will be game-time decisions.
"They will just hopefully [be out for] maintenance and will be on the ice [Wednesday]," Penguins coach Dan Bylsma said. "The rest of our lineup will be game-time [decisions]."
The Penguins already were set to be without forward Taylor Pyatt because of a lower-body injury and called up forward Harry Zolnierczyk from Wilkes-Barre/Scranton of the American Hockey League in case Kunitz can't play.
Pittsburgh already was shorthanded on defense with Kris Letang not making the trip due to illness. Deryk Engelland could slide in on defense if Niskanen can't play. Bylsma also announced Marc-Andre Fleury would get the start in goal.
The Sabres likely will be without defenseman Tyler Myers, who sustained a lower-body injury in the second period Monday against the Edmonton Oilers and did not return to the game.
"It doesn't look very good for [Wednesday] but we'll see," interim coach Ted Nolan said. "Hopefully he'll be ready [Thursday]."
With Myers out, Chad Ruhwedel rejoins the lineup after being a healthy scratch against the Oilers. Nolan announced Tuesday that Ryan Miller would get the start in goal. Miller took a 3-0 loss to the Penguins on Jan. 27 in Pittsburgh.
"He's a big guy, takes up a lot of space and makes those first saves a lot," Penguins captain Sidney Crosby said of Miller. "So you need to be able to find rebounds and compete in front. They've got some [defensemen] that do a good job of clearing out the front too. So you really have to compete to get to that area and get second opportunities."
Here are the projected lineups for the Penguins and Sabres:
Chris Kunitz - Sidney Crosby - Brian Gibbons
Jussi Jokinen - Evgeni Malkin - James Neal
Tanner Glass - Brandon Sutter - Jayson Megna
Chuck Kobasew - Craig Adams - Deryk Engelland
Scratched: Harry Zolnierczyk
Injured: Kris Letang (ill), Taylor Pyatt (lower body), Beau Bennett (wrist), Chris Conner (hand), Pascal Dupuis (knee), Joe Vitale (wrist), Tomas Vokoun (blood clot)
Linus Omark - Tyler Ennis - Drew Stafford
Steve Ott - Cody Hodgson - Matt D'Agostini
Philip Varone - Zemgus Girgensons - Brian Flynn
John Scott - Matt Ellis - Marcus Foligno
Chad Ruhwedel - Henrik Tallinder
Christian Ehrhoff - Alexander Sulzer
Scratched: Zenon Konopka, Ville Leino
Injured: Tyler Myers (lower body), Cody McCormick (upper body), Matt Moulson (upper body)