With a goal against Carolina on Tuesday, Tyler Ennis extended his point streak to three games and has racked up seven points in his past seven games. He’s been one of the Buffalo Sabres’ most productive players of late, but the team will have to see how it fairs without him Wednesday night.
Sabres interim coach Ted Nolan announced after the team’s optional morning skate that Ennis will not play against the Boston Bruins on Wednesday (7:30 p.m., NBCSN) due to what he called “general body soreness.”
“Hopefully it’s nothing too serious,” Nolan said. “Just a day-to-day thing so we’ll be good.”
Ennis’ line with Matt Moulson and Drew Stafford has been relied upon for offensive output. Stafford has recorded 11 points (6+5) in his last eight games, making it his most prolific eight-game stretch since 2011-12.
In his career, Stafford has recorded 51 points (24+27) in 71 games during the month of February (.718 points per game), his highest point-scoring rate of any month of the season.
Jhonas Enroth will start in goal and make his first appearance since returning from the Olympic Winter Games in Sochi, Russia earlier this week.
Henrik Tallinder, Enroth’s teammate on silver medal-winning Sweden, will also be back in the lineup. He didn’t play against the Hurricanes as the Sabres decided to give him an extra day of rest after the long flight back to North America.
It’s possible that by next Wednesday, starting goaltender Ryan Miller could be traded away and Enroth could be the team’s No. 1 goalie.
Tallinder thinks Enroth, 25, is up for the challenge if that scenario becomes a reality and playing the Bruins provides a great opportunity to start making his case.
“Obviously I think he wants to just show that he can play against top teams in this League and show that he might be ready to be battling for the first job next year,” Tallinder said. “I think that’s natural for him. He’s at that stage of his career too, where he wants to get that job.”
Enroth, however, is keyed in on the Bruins and what he will have to do well to pick up his second victory of the season.
“It’s a tough team and a pretty big team so they like to bring a lot of bodies in front of the net. For the key for me is probably to fight to see the puck and stay sharp on that part,” he said.
Center Zenon Konopka was scratched Tuesday night as well but said he’s set to play on Wednesday. TSN reported Tuesday that Konopka had finger surgery over the Olympic break and Konopka confirmed that Wednesday morning.
“I don’t know how TSN got a hold of that, but I broke my finger in Minnesota, the fifth game of the year,” he said. “Kept on playing with it and it was bugging me quite a bit. So over the break, we thought it was an opportunity to get in there and clean up the bone.”
Konopka expects the finger to be 100 percent “sooner than later.” While Nolan said on Wednesday that Konopka was held out of the lineup as a precaution, the 33-year-old forward declared himself ready to go. Konopka has talked with the coaches and training staff every morning and feels like he’ll be able to contribute on the ice against the Bruins.
“Today we thought it was a day to try it,” he said. “You love to get back in there. You love to play hockey. So it’s going to be exciting. Always a good rivalry with Boston so it’ll be fun.”
If it turns out Konopka can’t go, Nolan said they’ll dress John Scott as a seventh defenseman and play with 11 forwards.
26 Matt Moulson – 23 Ville Leino – 21 Drew Stafford
9 Steve Ott – 19 Cody Hodgson – 27 Matt D’Agostini
82 Marcus Foligno – 28 Zemgus Girgensons – 65 Brian Flynn
37 Matt Ellis – 24 Zenon Konopka – 8 Cody McCormick
10 Christian Ehrhoff – 52 Alexander Sulzer
20 Henrik Tallinder – 57 Tyler Myers
6 Mike Weber – 4 Jamie McBain
1 Jhonas Enroth
30 Ryan Miller