PITTSBURGH – Defenseman Jamie McBain will play his first game in the blue and gold on Saturday when the Buffalo Sabres take on the Pittsburgh Penguins at Consol Energy Center at 7 p.m. He’ll skate alongside Tyler Myers as Henrik Tallinder is unable to go due to an upper-body injury.
McBain was a healthy scratch for Buffalo’s first two games of the season. He was acquired by the Sabres at the 2013 NHL Draft from the Carolina Hurricanes.
“I just have to go out there and play my game. I can’t think about trying to do too much, trying to impress anyone in any certain way just because it is my first game,” McBain said after an optional morning skate.
McBain recorded 11 points with the man advantage in 2011-12, scoring five times, but had an admittedly disappointing season last year. The Sabres power play is 0-for-11 this season, so McBain may be able to give it a boost. He’s done some practice work with the Sabres’ second unit the past few weeks.
“I consider myself a good power play guy too, so I’m looking forward to getting out there on the power play and hopefully just doing my part to get that jump started,” he said.
Goaltender Matt Hackett and defenseman Alexander Sulzer skated in Pittsburgh as well. Both played in the Rochester Americans’ home opener on Friday.
The roster spots on the blue line have opened up because Tallinder left the Sabres' 1-0 loss to the Ottawa Senators on Friday with an upper-body injury and did not make the trip with the team to Pittsburgh. An update on his condition could be available from coach Ron Rolston when he addresses the media later this afternoon.
Sulzer re-joined the Sabres after making his Rochester Americans debut on Friday against Grand Rapids. He’s scored 12 points in three games with the Sabres since the team traded for him at the 2012 NHL Trade Deadline. He was waived by Buffalo and assigned to the Amerks prior to the start of the season.
Hackett stopped 24 of 30 shots Friday before being lifted late in the second period. Hackett said he received a phone call at home at about midnight, telling him he had been recalled. He drove to Buffalo and then caught a ride to Pittsburgh.
“I was home about to pass out, got in my car and drove to Buffalo,” he said after practice. "...I’m just here to back up tonight, I guess."
That means Jhonas Enroth will most likely start in goal. Ryan Miller, who made 45 saves against the Senators on Friday, may not dress.
Forwards on the ice: Zemgus Girgensons, Mikhail Grigorenko, Brian Flynn, Cody McCormick, Johan Larsson, John Scott.
Defense on the ice: Alexander Sulzer, Jamie McBain, Rasmus Ristolainen, Mark Pysyk.
Goaltenders on the ice: Jhonas Enroth, Matt Hackett.