PHILADELPHIA – The Buffalo Sabres wrap up their three-game road trip Sunday night in Philadelphia and will field the same lines and defensive pairings as they did against the Detroit Red Wings on Friday.
However, changes could be coming soon because as many as four injured players could return to the lineup in the next few days.
Marcus Foligno skated with the team Sunday morning at Wells Fargo Center after sustaining a lower-body injury on Thursday. He fell hard in front of the St. Louis Blues net on his first shift and had to be helped off the ice. It was an injury that Sabres coach Ted Nolan thought might end Foligno's season.
“I was very shocked and quite surprised that he was able to walk around yesterday and all of a sudden to see him on the ice today, so it’s very encouraging news,” Nolan said.
Chris Stewart was also on the ice and Nolan said he wanted to play tonight, but the training staff thought it would be best to hold him out of game action for at least a few more days. He’s been out since March 6 with a lower-body injury that occurred in a collision with Lightning goaltender Anders Lindback.
Initially, Stewart was considered out for the rest of the regular season.
Neither will play against Philadelphia, but and said there’s a good chance that both Foligno and Stewart could play Tuesday night when the Sabres host Detroit
Nolan credited the training staff for helping with their speedy recoveries.
Foligno and Stewart might not be the only ones back Tuesday night, either.
While Drew Stafford has missed the past two games, Nolan said that he and Torrey Mitchell, who has been out with an injury since March 27, could be back for the game against Detroit as well.Tyler Myers
could return from his injury before the regular comes to a close on April 13, according to Nolan, but injured goaltenders Jhonas Enroth
and Michal Neuvirth
are likely be done for the year.
Nolan said Henrik Tallinder will miss more time with the lower-body injury he sustained on Tuesday. Zenon Konopka is also not close to returning.
Nathan Lieuwen will start for the Sabres as they seek to earn their first win in Philadelphia since March 5, 2011.
Faceoff between the Sabres and the Flyers is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. and can be seen nationally in the United States on NBCSN and on TSN2 in Canada.
Mike Weber did not participate in the morning skate, but he’ll suit up against the Flyers. He’s fighting through a lower-body injury as well.
“He’s a trooper,” Nolan said. “You can question certain parts of his game, but you can never question his heart. He’s been playing extremely banged up the last couple games. He had another day off today, but he’ll play tonight.”
With the potential influx of healthy bodies, some young players currently up on emergency recall like Luke Adam, Johan Larsson, Nicolas Deslauriers could be sent back to the Rochester Americans of the American Hockey League.
Nolan said that the work they do in the offseason will be just as important as their level of play now when it comes to how the team evaluates them.
“How you continue to grow is really important and how you finish off. Lasting impressions are very important,” Nolan said. “You want to make sure you leave a good lasting impression because you have all summer to think about it… The future bodes well, but they have to continue to do that on a regular basis.”
The Amerks are fighting to secure a playoff berth. They currently sit in seventh place in the Western Conference with six games remaining. Rochester rallied back from a 3-0 deficit on Saturday to beat the Toronto Marlies 4-3. Tim Schaller recorded a hat trick and Phil Varone scored the game-winner with 43 seconds left in regulation.
88 Cory Conacher – 63 Tyler Ennis – 23 Ville Leino
19 Cody Hodgson – 28 Zemgus Girgensons – 27 Matt D’Agostini
72 Luke Adam – 22 Johan Larsson – 44 Nicolas Deslauriers
32 John Scott – 65 Brian Flynn – 37 Matt Ellis
10 Christian Ehrhoff – 55 Rasmus Ristolainen
6 Mike Weber – 4 Jamie McBain
29 Jake McCabe – 5 Chad Ruhwedel
50 Nathan Lieuwen
31 Matt Hackett