BUFFALO – The Buffalo Sabres will be without leading scorer Thomas Vanek for a third straight game.
Vanek took the ice along with forward John Scott and goaltender Ryan Miller following a team meeting Sunday morning. After the skate, Vanek told reporters that he would not be able to play Sunday night when the Sabres host the Boston Bruins.
“Today went a lot better than yesterday, but [I’m] still not where I would like it to be, so I just have to be patient, which is obviously a tough thing to do in the position we’re at,” Vanek said.
Vanek was hit by a shot from the point by teammate Christian Ehrhoff in Buffalo’s game against the Montreal Canadiens on March 12. He missed the next game and scored two goals in his return on March 23. However, he aggravated the injury on March 26 in Tampa Bay and has missed the Sabres’ last two games. He skated Saturday morning too, but said that he still can’t shoot or skate the way he wants and that will keep him out of the lineup again.
“If I’m not healthy and I can’t do the things I normally do, I’m just going to hurt the team and not help them,” Vanek said.
The Sabres also played on Saturday. They gave up a two-goal lead in the third period to the Washington Capitals and ended up losing in a shootout.
Sabres interim coach Ron Rolston would not name a starter for the game against the Bruins. Backup Jhonas Enroth started Saturday night and made 30 saves in the loss.
It could be the first time Enroth makes consecutive starts this season. He started nine straight games from Nov. 14-Dec. 2, 2011 when Miller was out with a concussion. He last appeared in back-to-back games on Jan. 16-18, 2012, but did not start the first game.
If Miller plays Sunday, he will tie Dominik Hasek’s franchise record of 491 games played for the Sabres.
Rolston said that Scott would be back in the lineup for Buffalo. He would not confirm which forward would be a healthy scratch.
The Bruins held a full practice on Sunday. Boston is 2-4-1 in their last seven games and is coming off a 3-1 loss at home to the Philadelphia Flyers on Saturday.
“It certainly looks like a lack of urgency so we’re hoping to get the guys to relax in a way where they can get their speed back and their hands back,” Bruins coach Claude Julien said.
Buffalo is 2-1-0 against the Bruins this season and 5-3-2 in their last 10 matchups. The Sabres are 6-2-2 in their last 10 home games against Boston.
“We’ve always had a tough time with them. They always play us hard and play us tough,” Bruins forward Milan Lucic said. “Miller has definitely been their best player against us this year with the way that he’s played and that’s going to make this a tough challenge tonight.”
Anton Khudobin was the first goaltender off the ice for the Bruins and is the likely starter.
Here are the projected lines for the Boston:
Brad Marchand – Patrice Bergeron – Tyler Seguin
Milan Lucic – David Krejci – Nathan Horton
Jay Pandolfo – Rich Peverley – Jordan Caron
Daniel Paille – Gregory Campbell – Shawn Thornton
Zdeno Chara – Dougie Hamilton
Andrew Ference – Dennis Seidenberg
Aaron Johnson – Johnny Boychuk
Scratched: Kaspars Daugavins, Lane MacDermid, Matt Bartkowski
Injured: Chris Kelly (broken tibia), Adam McQuaid (shoulder)