Dan Paille will fill in for an injured Thomas Vanek
tonight as the Buffalo Sabres host the New York Islanders at HSBC Arena.
Vanek is day-to-day with an upper body injury after colliding with Detroit forward Brad May during Tuesday’s 6-2 win over the Red Wings.
The winger will take Vanek’s place alongside Drew Stafford
and Derek Roy
in his first start of the season after being a healthy scratch in the first four games of the year.
“I don’t want to mess with the other lines right now,” Head Coach Lindy Ruff said. “Obviously he’s got a great shot, is a great skater and he can dominate the physical game. It’s inside him to come out and put forth a great effort for us.”
Paille has also been able to score some goals in the past, netting 19 in the 2007-08 season, playing typically as a third or fourth line winger. He trailed off last year, scoring 12 goals and 27 points in 73 games, but believes he can make a difference in the lineup.
“I just want to bring a lot of energy to the game and keep the winning streak going,” he said. “It’s hard to replace Van, but I’ll do the best I can do.
“I see a lot of different guys playing different roles. We’ve got everybody playing tough for us and battling for each other. When we got that going for us, plus our skill and speed, we’re a pretty good hockey team. I just want to jump in.”
Tonight’s lines are as follows:
Paille – Roy – Stafford
MacArthur – Connolly – Pominville
Hecht – Kennedy – Grier
Kaleta – Ellis – Gaustad
Butler – Rivet
Montador – Lydman
Tallinder – Myers
[rib], Nathan Paetsch and Adam Mair are scratches.
Islanders’ forward John Tavares will play his first NHL game in Buffalo tonight with some family in attendance.
The wingers’ uncle, also named John Tavares, and veteran with the National Lacrosse League’s Buffalo Bandits will be on hand to see his nephew.
Bandits’ Head Coach Darris Kilgour, defenseman Billy Dee Smith and forward Kyle Schmelzle will join Tavares tonight in the Labatt Blue Zone, located in the East wing of the 100 level pavilion, from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
The Islanders’ netminders should look familiar to Buffalo fans. Both Dwayne Roloson (1998-2000) and Martin Biron (1995-2006) played in goal for the Sabres.
Roloson will get the start tonight.