TORONTO – For the first time since he made his rookie debut on opening night, the Buffalo Sabres will be without forward Jack Eichel when they play the Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday night at Air Canada Centre.
Eichel developed a case of the flu in the time since Friday night's win over the Ottawa Senators, according to Sabres coach Dan Bylsma. Fellow rookie Daniel Catenacci was recalled on Saturday morning to take Eichel's spot in the lineup.
"It didn’t come on until early this morning," Bylsma said. "He was feeling OK in the afternoon; he took a turn for the flu worse."
Catenacci joins the Sabres for his third recall of the season, having played previously in 10 games. Bylsma said that Catenacci will play wing for the majority of the game while Cal O'Reilly, a fourth-line wing in recent games, will return to center.
Defenseman Carlo Colaiacovo, who missed Friday's game with a lower-body injury, is healthy and will be back in the lineup. Chad Ruhwedel was reassigned to Rochester after making his season debut against the Senators on Friday.
Chad Johnson will take the net for Buffalo for the second time in as many days. Johnson has won his last five starts, including a 32-save performance on Friday. He made 29 saves the last time the Sabres played in Toronto, a 4-3 shootout win on March 7.
Bylsma said his team may have been caught off guard by the determination of a young, rebuilding Maple Leafs team on that night. It's a mistake he hopes they don't make again.
"We're going to see some [players] for the first time again as we did last time," Bylsma said. "Going back to last game, it's a game where those new faces out-worked and out-competed us for a good portion of the game here in Toronto. We had to come back in that game from that work."
Coverage on Saturday begins at 6:30 p.m. with Tops Sabres Gamenight on MSG-B. The game can also be heard live on WGR 550.