|Patrick Lalime (Photo: Getty Images) |
Buffalo Sabres goaltender Patrick Lalime was absent from practice Wednesday afternoon due to flu-like symptoms. Head Coach Lindy Ruff said it is uncertain whether the netminder will be able to play in Thursday’s contest in Carolina against the Hurricanes.
“It will all depend on how he’s feeling. Maybe he’ll be able to go, maybe he won’t,” Ruff said. “He’s going to see a doctor around noon today so we’ll get an update.”
If Lalime is unable to play, rookie Jhonas Enroth
will get his first NHL start. The 20-year-old native of Sweden has played in 43 AHL games with the Portland Pirates, compiling a record of 18-17-5, with 2.71 goals against average and .915 save percentage. Enroth also leads all first-year netminders in the AHL with three shutouts
“He’s a pretty confident kid that stepped into the American League. If you look at the job he did, you wouldn’t expect the first 20 or 30 games for him to step in and play that well - but he did,” Ruff said. “I think sometimes a goaltender can surprise you.
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“There are examples of guys that were in the [NHL] that were playing down there, that he actually played better than. The guy in LA, [Kings’ goaltender Jonathan] Quick, was in the American League and Jhonas’ numbers were actually better than his. I don’t think you can be afraid of that.”
Ruff said the coaching staff discussed bringing up another goaltender from the AHL with the absence of Lalime, to serve as a potential back-up for Enroth. The Pirates, however, are also short-handed when it comes to goaltending.
Adam Dennis has split time with Enroth this season, but has been out of the lineup since December with a hip injury. His replacement, John DeCaro - recalled from the ECHL’s Las Vegas Wranglers -suffered a broken collarbone in a game last weekend.
Goaltending Coach Jim Corsi filled in at practice on Wednesday at HSBC Arena with Lalime out.
Ruff said Lalime will make the trip and will be re-evaluated Thursday morning.
“When it rains it starts snowing harder,” Ruff said. “Around here, anything can happen… I don’t want to overplay this. Patrick could be fine by later tonight. You don’t like the fact that he misses practice but that stuff happens.”
Paul Gaustad insisted the collision with Anaheim’s Ryan Getzlaf during Tuesday’s 3-2 loss was not intentional. Ducks’ Head Coach Randy Carlyle was upset with the play that resulted in a broken nose for Getzlaf, saying the winger left his feet on the hit.
“I read his comment that my shoulder hit him in the head, but I watched the replay, our heads collided,” Gaustad said. “I didn’t see him, it’s unfortunate he got hurt… But was a collision, it wasn’t a hit.”
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"We’re not going to change our style of play. I don’t think we can. All that will lead to is more confusion. Our style needs to stay the same, maybe we have to be a little bit sharper. There are situations around the net where we have to play a little bit better or play differently than when Ryan [Miller] is in there. But our style of play up-ice isn’t going to change.
"We want to play a real aggressive game, we want our defense involved. We played that style and only gave up 10, 12 shots for 30 minutes. I think that is the style that can lead us to keep winning games and we’re not going to change it."