MONTREAL – The Buffalo Sabres will get one of their workhorses back on the blue line Tuesday night.
Tyler Myers has missed the past five games with arm injury but will be in the lineup against the Montreal Canadiens when the puck drops at 7:30 p.m. at Bell Centre.
The injury, which turned out to be a laceration on his elbow, kept him off the ice until just a few days ago. However, interim coach Ted Nolan won’t tighten up on the reins when it comes to limiting Myers’ ice time in his first game back.
“Stallions, just let them run. You’re not going to hold him back,” Nolan said after the team’s morning skate. “He’s a big man. He can skate. He reads the ice pretty well. So we’ll probably give him the first couple shifts short and then after that, let him go.”
Myers, at 6-foot-8 and 219 pounds, is big both in his stature and in the role he plays on the team. He averages 21:56 a game, second only to defenseman Christian Ehrhoff. Myers met the team in Montreal on Monday. He said he feels good and is ready to play again.
“Even though it was a little time off, I feel like I got it back pretty quick,” Myers said. “Whatever they have in store for me, I’ll just keep focusing on what I have to do and my role on the team.”
Myers said he had to wait for the infection to be completely healed so it wouldn’t flare up when he tried to skate. He was able to take the ice with some members of the coaching and training staff back in Buffalo.
With Myers back, the Sabres assigned rookie Rasmus Ristolainen to Rochester Americans of the American Hockey League. Ristolainen had been up on an emergency recall.
Zenon Konopka will not play Tuesday night. He tweaked his back on the flight from Vancouver to Montreal on Monday, according to Nolan. He didn't particpate in the skate.
He’ll be replaced by Ville Leino in the lineup. Leino has been a healthy scratch the past two games.
While the Sabres are getting healthier on defense, the same can’t be said for their goaltending corps.
Michal Neuvirth has not played since March 13 when he made 51 saves in a 4-2 loss to Carolina. He said he woke up sore the next morning and while he served as the backup in the team’s next game, the Sabres recalled Nathan Lieuwen on an emergency recall.
Neuvirth has been traveling with the team on their current five-game road trip but that may not be the case moving forward. He did not skate on Tuesday.
When asked after the morning skate about Neuvirth’s status, Nolan didn’t sound too optimistic.
“Not too good. I think we may even send him back to Buffalo to get re-evaluated,” he said. “He’s not progressing as well as we thought.”
The Sabres are also without Jhonas Enroth, who sustained a lower-body injury on March 16.
Matt Hackett will start for the Sabres against Montreal. It will be his second regular-season game in a Buffalo uniform. He made 35 saves in a 3-1 win over the Edmonton Oilers on Thursday.
The Sabres have gone 11-5-1 in their last 17 games against the Canadiens, but need a win Tuesday night to avoid losing five-straight games to Montreal for just the second time in franchise history. The first took place from Dec. 2, 1978 to Dec. 29, 1979.
Despite this streak, the Canadiens are looking for consecutive home wins against the Sabres for the first time since April 3 and Nov. 27, 2010.
The Sabres have 119 wins in 261 games against the Canadiens, tying their franchise-record win total against the Bruins, whom they have played 272 times.
82 Marcus Foligno – 63 Tyler Ennis – 21 Drew Stafford
88 Cory Conacher – 19 Cody Hodgson – 17 Torrey Mitchell
44 Nicolas Deslauriers – 65 Brian Flynn – 27 Matt D’Agostini
32 John Scott – 37 Matt Ellis – 23 Ville Leino
10 Christian Ehrhoff – 57 Tyler Myers
6 Mike Weber – 4 Jamie McBain
20 Henrik Tallinder – 5 Chad Ruhwedel
31 Matt Hackett
50 Nathan Lieuwen