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Sabres goalie Lehner out against Senators

Season-opening ankle injury still bothering Buffalo goaltender

by Joe Yerdon / Correspondent

SENATORS (33-30-8) at SABRES (28-33-10)


BUFFALO -- The Buffalo Sabres will be without goalie Robin Lehner and defenseman Carlo Colaiacovo when they face the Ottawa Senators on Friday.

Lehner injured his right ankle against the Montreal Canadiens on Wednesday. It's the same ankle in which he sustained a high ankle sprain Oct. 8 against the Senators and missed more than three months.

Colaiacovo is day-to-day because of a lower-body injury.

"The high ankle sprain is one you deal with for a long time," Sabres coach Dan Bylsma said. "I don't think at any one point in time [Lehner] hasn't been dealing with it since he's come back. Just with tweaking it in the game against Montreal [March 10] and then again last game, it's just … we're going to give it a few days rest and see how it goes from there."

Chad Johnson will start against Ottawa and likely also will start Saturday against the Toronto Maple Leafs. In 36 games this season he has a .918 save percentage and a 2.40 goals-against average.

"For myself it's about just playing hockey games and trying to get wins and play well and help the team," Johnson said. "If it's a lot of games or a few games it doesn't really change my mindset or anything. Obviously Robin's not here today so we'll just kind of go from there and I'll just go with it."

Defenseman Chad Ruhwedel and goalie Nathan Lieuwen were recalled from Rochester of the American Hockey League on Wednesday to replace Colaiacovo and Lehner. It's Ruhwedel's first NHL recall this season; he has eight goals and 14 assists in 46 AHL games. In 32 NHL games in parts of three seasons, all with the Sabres, he has two assists and 47 shots on goal.

"It's been a long year [in Rochester] and the team's playing well down there too," Ruhwedel said. "It's been fun. Guys have been healthy up here and they're playing well. It's just a matter of time with injuries and stuff. You never know when [a recall] will happen."

The Senators are looking for their third straight win but may be without forward Zack Smith. Coach Dave Cameron said Smith could miss the game because of illness. Smith has been off the ice the past three days and did not participate in the optional morning skate Friday.

"I'd prefer he be on skates but it's not life or death," Cameron said.

Smith has 13 points in the past 13 games. If he can't play Matt Puempel will take his place.

"You never know what can happen on the day of a game," Puempel said. "When you're skating in the morning and you're the extra guy in practice or what not, you just have to be ready. Today is no different. I haven't been told anything and it's no different than any other game day. Just take it as if you're preparing to play and that's what you do every day whether you're playing or not."

Craig Anderson will start in goal for the Senators.

Here are the projected lineups:


Zack Smith - Jean-Gabriel Pageau - Mark Stone

Mike Hoffman - Mika Zibanejad - Alex Chiasson

Ryan Dzingel - Scott Gomez - Bobby Ryan

Nick Paul - Curtis Lazar -Chris Neil

Marc Methot - Erik Karlsson

Dion Phaneuf - Cody Ceci

Michael Kostka - Chris Wideman

Craig Anderson

Andrew Hammond

Injured: Mark Borowiecki (knee), Kyle Turris (ankle), Clarke MacArthur (concussion), Chris Phillips (back)

Scratched: Patrick Wiercioch, Matt Puempel


Evander Kane - Ryan O'Reilly -Nicolas Deslauriers

Zemgus Girgensons - Jack Eichel - Sam Reinhart

Marcus Foligno - Johan Larsson - Brian Gionta

Cal O'Reilly - David Legwand - Matt Moulson

Josh Gorges - Rasmus Ristolainen

Jake McCabe - Zach Bogosian

Mark Pysyk - Chad Ruhwedel

Chad Johnson

Nathan Lieuwen

Injured: Robin Lehner (ankle), Carlo Colaiacovo (lower body), Jason Kasdorf (groin), Cody Franson (neck), Tyler Ennis (concussion), Cody McCormick (blood clot)

Scratched: None

Status Update: Bylsma said Franson has not been skating. He's been out since he was injured against the Columbus Blue Jackets on Feb. 19. He last skated in Anaheim on Feb. 23.

Who's Hot: Stone has two goals and six assists during a six-game point streak. … Zibanejad has two goals and one assist during a two-game point streak. … Foligno has goals in two straight games.

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