GLENDALE, ARIZONA – The Buffalo Sabres will once again be without their leading scorer Monday night in Arizona when they take on the Coyotes.
Tyler Ennis took the ice at the end of the morning skate, but will not be ready to return from an upper-body injury sustained on Thursday. Sabres coach Ted Nolan hopes Ennis will be able return to the lineup on Wednesday.
He missed Saturday’s game in Colorado, but the offense was still able to generate chances, especially as the game wore on. Buffalo scored three goals on 18 shots in the third period in an attempt to rally from a 4-0 deficit.
All three goals came from defensemen – Andrej Meszaros had a pair and Rasmus Ristolainen scored the other – but the new line combinations provided the team more balance. The line of Mikhail Grigorenko, Marcus Foligno and Zac Dalpe contributed to Ristolainen’s goal. The three forwards also combined for eight of Buffalo’s 38 shots with Dalpe putting four pucks on net.
Dalpe has played alongside Grigorenko for most of the season with the Rochester Americans of the American Hockey League, so there is definitely some familiarity between them.
“I know everybody talks about chemistry but sometimes it’s all over the place with everybody,” Dalpe said. “I think we played well last game – enough to stick together and with Moose on the other side, he’s a big body who creates a lot of space for us. So take advantage of it.”
Nolan has been particularly pleased with Foligno’s development this season. He has 16 points (6+10) in 50 games, but it’s his growth behind the scenes that’s stood out to Nolan.
“Right now’s a real good time to give him a little bit more responsibility. He seems to really cherish it,” Nolan said. “You can tell the way he is in the locker room in between periods that nobody gets to see too often. On the bench, he’s a little bit more vocal. He’s out penalty killing, he’s on the power play, his regular shifts. This is a big opportunity.”
The Tops Game Night pregame show begins at 9:30 p.m. EST. Puck drop from Gila River Arena is scheduled for 10 p.m. EST on MSG-B and Bell. The game can also be heard live on WGR 550.
The Sabres recalled Andrey Makarov to back up Anders Lindback in goal. Matt Hackett is out with soreness and swelling that he’s been dealing with as he continues to recover from a major knee injury sustained a year ago.
“We want to make sure he’s good to go before we put him back in so we’ll call up Makarov for now and hopefully he’s good next game,” Nolan said.
Nolan hopes Hackett will also be ready for Wednesday’s home game against Toronto.
ZADOROV BACK IN
On the blue line, there will be one change. Nikita Zadorov will return to the lineup and Tyson Strachan will serve as a healthy scratch. During Sunday’s practice, the coaching staff put Zadorov through some tough skating drills.
“It was good. Just get the extra work because I didn’t play the day before. I think it’s like the same work everybody did in the game,” Zadorov said. “I’m just going to try to play my game, how I did before and just keep my role and play hard.”
Nolan wants to see Zadorov’s work ethic stay at a consistently high level.
“We watched him work and he worked pretty hard in his skates. We just want to transfer that into gametime,” Nolan said. “Everybody knows his skill. Skill is nothing without will so we’ve got to get him to compete hard and play hard. If he does that, everything should be good.”
26 Matt Moulson – 22 Johan Larsson – 12 Brian Gionta
82 Marcus Foligno – 25 Mikhail Grigorenko – 20 Zac Dalpe
44 Nicolas Deslauriers – 84 Philip Varone – 36 Patrick Kaleta
37 Matt Ellis – 59 Tim Schaller – 19 Cody Hodgson
61 Andre Benoit – 47 Zach Bogosian
41 Andrej Meszaros – 55 Rasmus Ristolainen
51 Nikita Zadorov – 6 Mike Weber
35 Anders Lindback
1 Andrey Makarov