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Morning Skate | Caggiula to make Sabres debut vs. Bruins

Previewing Tuesday's game against Boston

by Jourdon LaBarber @jourdonlabarber /

Drake Caggiula spent his week in quarantine working out from home and riding a bike, trying to keep his conditioning afloat by any means possible. 

He plans to empty the tank completely over the final 11 games with Sabres.

"I mean, there's nothing to save it for," Caggiula said Tuesday, ahead of his Sabres debut against the Boston Bruins at KeyBank Center. "There's not too many games left in the season and whatever situation I get put in, I'm ready to answer the bell and I'm looking forward to getting back out and playing."

Video: PREGAME: Caggiula

Caggiula was claimed off waivers from the Arizona Coyotes on April 9. Sabres interim head coach Don Granato cited the forward as a player who can add speed and versatility, having previously coached Caggiula for 26 games with the Chicago Blackhawks in 2018-19.

Caggiula will make his debut on the right wing of a line with Tobias Rieder and Riley Sheahan. 

"Give him time, support him in any way we can as a team, and he'll add a lot," Granato said. "He could add a lot right away, we don't know. But I think it's our job to make sure we all support any player entering like that."

Cody Eakin will be scratched to make room in the lineup after seeing just four shifts during the second and third periods against Pittsburgh on Sunday. Eakin took a hooking penalty during the second period and had the puck stripped away during his lone shift in the third.

"Clearly he wasn't on his game," Granato said. "And, you know, mistakes happen. We're at a point now where we can put Caggiula in and there needs to be a guy out and I thought the other night, other guys were going and to a level that I went with those guys. They were going, they were in sync, they were in the moment. And that was the choice."


Projected lineup

Video: PREGAME: Granato

Dustin Tokarski will make his fourth straight start in goal. Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen will dress for his first NHL game and serve as backup. Luukkonen could make his debut Thursday, Granato said.

Here is the full projected lineup based on the morning skate:

53 Jeff Skinner - 23 Sam Reinhart - 68 Victor Olofsson
74 Rasmus Asplund - 37 Casey Mittelstadt - 72 Tage Thompson
96 Anders Bjork - 24 Dylan Cozens - 25 Arttu Ruotsalainen
13 Tobias Rieder - 15 Riley Sheahan - 91 Drake Caggiula

54 Mattias Samuelsson - 55 Rasmus Ristolainen
26 Rasmus Dahlin - 10 Henri Jokiharju
58 Jacob Bryson - 33 Colin Miller

31 Dustin Tokarski
1 Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen


Scouting the Bruins

The matchup is the first of three in four days between the Sabres and Bruins. The two teams met in Boston last Tuesday, a physical contest that came just one day after a trade sent Taylor Hall and Curtis Lazar to the Bruins in exchange for Bjork and a second-round pick. 

"There was a lot going on," Dylan Cozens said. "A couple fights, lots of physical stuff. Those games are fun to play. It did kind of feel like a playoff game. Obviously, we're going to see what's gonna happen these next three games, but I expect some good hockey."

Boston's shootout win over the Sabres that night opened a four-game winning streak that continued with a 6-3 victory over Washington on Sunday. Hall extended his point streak to three games, with two goals and an assist in that span.


Tune in 

Coverage on MSG begins at 6 p.m. You can also listen on WGR 550 with puck drop scheduled for 6:30. 

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