Buffalo Sabres center Cody Hodgson did not practice with the team Friday morning at First Niagara Center.
He missed Buffalo’s game in Ottawa on Thursday with an injury and interim coach Ted Nolan hopes Hodgson will be ready for the team’s Saturday afternoon tilt against the Calgary Flames at 2 p.m.
“Cody’s still a little sore. He tried to go out for practice today and didn’t feel very well so one more day,” Nolan said after practice.
After the game in Ottawa, the Sabres were pleased with their effort, but still came up short, falling 2-1 in regulation. In the home-and-home series against Ottawa, Buffalo put 36 and then 41 shots on goal.
“We’re not happy with a loss, but I think the feeling here is we want to get right back at it. We know we’re right on the edge of a win,” Sabres center Cody McCormick said. “We want to play today. We want to get right back at it and pick up off the good things from that game.”
Alexander Sulzer has been on injured reserve since sustaining an injury on Nov. 30 in New Jersey and said he’s close to returning. He’s been skating with the team since Monday. He probably wouldn’t be ready for Saturday, according to Nolan.
“It’s more like getting practices in and getting my conditioning back in like game situations and stuff,” Sulzer said.
Forward John Scott was excused from practice after his wife gave birth.
“I’ll let John say all the good news, but he’s a proud man today for sure,” Nolan said.
With Hodgson on Scott not on the ice, the Sabres practiced with 11 forwards. Brian Flynn skated up a line with Ville Leino at center and Matt D’Agostini at right wing.
Marcus Foligno remained at center between captain Steve Ott and Drew Stafford. Ott had been centering the line, but Nolan moved Foligno back into the middle prior to the game Thursday in Ottawa.
“We tried Steve Ott there. At center ice, it’s a lot of skating and Steve Ott’s a little bit more effective for us going up and down the wing and being Steve Ott,” Nolan said. “[Putting] him at center ice, we took a little bit away from him.”
BUY TICKETS FOR SATURDAY VS. CALGARY
In addition to improving their work ethic, the team has begun to limit the opposition’s shots against and they’ve been receiving solid goaltending from Ryan Miller and Jhonas Enroth all year. The players feel as if they’re on the cusp of putting it all together.
“We have to finish. That’s something we’ve talked about. We have to find a way to score,” Ott said. “Those opportunities are coming with consistent chances and consistent chances mean goals. I’m not too worried. If we play like we did last night, nine times out of 10, you’re going to win those games.”
On the first day of training camp, Ott said that with a younger club, it might take until around the end of December for a team to really gel and develop chemistry. Now that they’re at about that point, Ott said the team is starting to build on some positives.
“I’ve seen this before. It’s taken around Christmastime or just after to get that productivity together and the cohesiveness,” he said. “We’re all starting to feel it together now and that’s something that will hopefully lead us in the right direction coming up here.”
26 Matt Moulson – 63 Tyler Ennis – 28 Zemgus Girgenson
9 Steve Ott – 82 Marcus Foligno – 21 Drew Stafford
65 Brian Flynn – 23 Ville Leino – 27 Matt D’Agostini
72 Luke Adam – 8 Cody McCormick
10 Christian Ehrhoff – 4 Jamie McBain
20 Henrik Tallinder – 57 Tyler Myers
6 Mike Weber – 3 Mark Pysyk
44 Brayden McNabb – 52 Alexander Sulzer
30 Ryan Miller
1 Jhonas Enroth