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Sabres' Girgensons, Ennis out against Canucks

by Joe Yerdon

CANUCKS (35-22-3) AT SABRES (18-38-5)


BUFFALO -- The Buffalo Sabres will be without forwards Zemgus Girgensons and Tyler Ennis against the Vancouver Canucks on Thursday.

Girgensons was injured Tuesday against the Columbus Blue Jackets when a shot from defenseman James Wisniewski went off the back of his foot. He was placed on injured reserve.

"Zemgus, I guess it's a good thing we will see him before the end of the season," Sabres coach Ted Nolan said. "It's bad, but not as bad as we thought."

Nolan would not disclose the nature of Ennis' injury, only saying he pulled something; he's considered day-to-day.

The Sabres recalled forwards Zac Dalpe and Philip Varone from Rochester of the American Hockey League on Thursday and they will play against Vancouver on the same line with recent Rochester call-up Johan Larsson.

Dalpe has been on a hot streak recently in Rochester, with nine goals in the past 13 games, and he leads Rochester with 16 goals. Dalpe has played one NHL game this season. It's Varone's third recall of the season; he had two goals in seven games in his previous two times in Buffalo.

"He's just been working hard and sticking to what he does best," Varone said of Dalpe. "At the start of the year the points were going, but he plays the same way all the time. You know what you're going to get out of him."

The Sabres will have defenseman Mike Weber back in the lineup after he sustained an upper-body injury against the New York Rangers on Feb. 20. The initial prognosis was he would miss at least two weeks.

"The way I felt that night leaving the game, I was a little bit worried," Weber said. "The trainers are top-notch, our doctors are top-notch. They've always been able to piece me back together with glue and tape. So it's been able to hold so far."

Michal Neuvirth will make his seventh consecutive start in goal for the Sabres.

The Canucks come to Buffalo in the final game of a five-game road trip and have sorted through a myriad of injuries through it. In spite of the difficulty, Vancouver has won three out of four games on the trip.

"It's been good," Canucks coach Willie Desjardins said. "Our guys have worked hard, that's for sure. We've played in some tough buildings and Eddie [Lack, goalie] played real well the last game. Even given that, if we didn't play hard we wouldn't give ourselves a chance. So the guys have battled; we might be a little bit fortunate to get the win but it's good to get."

Lack will make his second consecutive start in place of Ryan Miller, who sustained a sprained knee against the New York Islanders on Feb. 22.

Former Sabres forward Zack Kassian will remain on a line with Daniel Sedin and Henrik Sedin. In four career games against Buffalo, Kassian has one goal and six assists. Kassian and defenseman Marc-Andre Gragnani were traded to Vancouver on Feb. 27, 2012 in exchange for forward Cody Hodgson and defenseman Alexander Sulzer.

"When a team trades you I think you go in with a little more bite," Kassian said. "I think at the same time, you go into any game you want to play hard and it just so happens I've had success against them."

Kassian has four goals during his three-game goal-scoring streak.

Here are the projected lineups:


Daniel Sedin - Henrik Sedin - Zack Kassian

Shawn Matthias - Nick Bonino - Radim Vrbata

Chris Higgins - Linden Vey - Derek Dorsett

Ronalds Kenins - Bo Horvat - Jannik Hansen

Dan Hamhuis -Yannick Weber

Ryan Stanton - Adam Clendening

Luca Sbisa - Alex Biega

Eddie Lack

Jacob Markstrom

Scratched: Bobby Sanguinetti, Brandon McMillan

Injured: Ryan Miller (knee), Alexandre Burrows (lower body), Alexander Edler (upper body), Frank Corrado (upper body), Kevin Bieksa (broken foot), Brad Richardson (ankle), Christopher Tanev (upper body)


Matt Moulson - Torrey Mitchell - Brian Gionta

Marcus Foligno - Brian Flynn - Chris Stewart

Johan Larsson - Philip Varone - Zac Dalpe

Nicolas Deslauriers - Matt Ellis - Cody Hodgson

Andre Benoit - Zach Bogosian

Mike Weber - Rasmus Ristolainen

Andrej Meszaros - Mark Pysyk

Michal Neuvirth

Anders Lindback

Scratched: Tyson Strachan, Nikita Zadorov

Injured: Josh Gorges (lower body), Cody McCormick (blood clot), Zemgus Girgensons (foot), Tyler Ennis (undisclosed)

Status Update: Zadorov will sit for the fourth consecutive game. The Sabres have gone 1-1-1 since he was benched against the Rangers for being late to a team meeting.

Who's Hot: Henrik Sedin three goals and nine points during his five-game point streak. … Daniel Sedin has seven points, all assists, during a five-game point streak. … Neuvirth has made 220 saves on 231 shots over the past six games, good for a .952 save percentage.

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