Buffalo Sabres Head Coach Lindy Ruff said forward Thomas Vanek
will be a game-time decision for Wednesday night's Game 4 against the Boston Bruins.
Vanek suffered a lower-body injury during the first period of Game 2 Saturday afternoon when he was checked into the end boards behind by Bruins defenseman Johnny Boychuk.
The winger did not return to the game and had yet to skate with the team until Wednesday morning.
“I’m really encouraged,” Vanek said following his first on-ice workout. “I was really happy out there. I felt good. I’m hoping for tonight, but if not, take a step ahead tomorrow and hopefully be back on Friday. We’ll see.”
Vanek, a two-time 40-goal scorer, has been one of the hottest players in the League over the past week. He scored four goals against Ottawa in the next-to-last game of the regular season on April 10, then added the Sabres' only goal in New Jersey the following day.
Vanek also opened the scoring in Game 1 against the Bruins as the Sabres claimed a 2-1 win in the series opener.
Meanwhile Matt Ellis
, who has also registered a goal in the 2010 playoffs, will miss Game 4 due to injury. Ellis took a punishing hit from Boychuk in Game 3 Monday night. While he later returned to the ice, he missed practice Tuesday due to soreness.
Forward Cody McCormick
was, in turn, recalled from the AHL Portland Pirates.
“He’s playing very well,” Ruff said of McCormick. “He’s a guy that’s playing 16 to 20 minutes a game down there, he’s a big body that I think can get to the front of the net and I think he can win battles down low.
“Without [Jochen] Hecht, without Vanek, without some of the bigger bodies, some of the battles have gone the other way. A big guy that will be able to win some battles will be very important to us… If we can 16-17 minutes out of him, I think he can bring us a lot tonight.”
McCormick - 6’3”, 215 lbs. - is in his first season with the Sabres organization after signing as a free agent on August 1, 2009. He finished the regular season with 29 points (17+12) and a team-high 168 PIMs over 66 games with the Pirates.
McCormick has 190 games of NHL experience in parts of five seasons with Colorado from 2003-09, accumulating 30 points (9+21) and 250 PIMs.
Gametime is 7 p.m. at TD Banknorth Garden in Boston. Stay tuned to sabres.com for more updates.