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Sabres could add rookie Zadorov to lineup

by Joe Yerdon

BUFFALO -- The Buffalo Sabres had an optional skate Saturday so their lineup for their game Saturday against the visiting Colorado Avalanche won't be known until the teams take the ice at 7 p.m. ET.

Sabres coach Ron Rolston was able to confirm one player returning to action would be forward Zemgus Girgensons. Girgensons had missed the Sabres' game Thursday against the Vancouver Canucks after being struck in the face by a Tyler Myers shot Tuesday in New York.

"[Healing] was quick," Girgensons said. "The day after the eye was totally shut, but now it's perfect."

Forward Cody McCormick was hurt against Vancouver after taking a slap shot in the leg and will sit out Saturday. Rolston was coy about what other moves could happen, saying it's possible 2013 first-round pick defenseman Nikita Zadorov, who has been out all season with a badly cut finger, could play.

"He's ready to go at any time," Rolston said of Zadorov. "It could be [Saturday]."

If Zadorov plays, the Sabres will need to make a roster move to get him in the lineup. Possibilities include putting McCormick on injured reserve or sending defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen to the American Hockey League. There's also the chance defenseman Jamie McBain will play after being a healthy scratch the past two games.

Ryan Miller was the first goalie off at the morning skate and likely will start for Buffalo.

The Colorado Avalanche are coming off their first loss of the season Thursday. Going from facing a veteran team like the Detroit Red Wings to a young one in the Sabres has its differences, but the Avalanche won't be deviating from what they've been doing.

"We don't change anything," forward Matt Duchene said. "We had a great game against Detroit. It was basically a coin flip in that game who was going to win that one. I think they would agree with that as well.

"[Saturday] we're facing a team that's struggling a little bit and we want to jump all over them. We're a team that's not struggling right now and we want to get on them early and play our game."

Jean-Sebastien Giguere will start in goal for Colorado.

Here is what the teams could go with Saturday:


Gabriel Landeskog - Paul Stastny - Alex Tanguay

Ryan O'Reilly - Matt Duchene - Steve Downie

Jamie McGinn - Nathan MacKinnon - PA Parenteau

Marc-Andre Cliche - John Mitchell - Patrick Bordeleau

Jan Hejda - Erik Johnson

Andre Benoit - Cory Sarich

Ryan Wilson - Nate Guenin

Jean-Sebastien Giguere

Semyon Varlamov

Scratched: Nick Holden, Tyson Barrie

Suspended: Cody McLeod


Thomas Vanek - Cody Hodgson - Steve Ott

Marcus Foligno - Tyler Ennis - Drew Stafford

Zemgus Girgensons - Johan Larsson - Brian Flynn

John Scott - Mikhail Grigorenko - Kevin Porter

Henrik Tallinder - Tyler Myers

Christian Ehrhoff - Mark Pysyk

Nikita Zadorov - Mike Weber

Ryan Miller

Jhonas Enroth

Scratched: Rasmus Ristolainen, Jamie McBain

Injured: Ville Leino (rib), Cody McCormick (leg)

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