PITTSBURGH – Having sustained an upper-body injury in Detroit on Monday night, Evander Kane will be out of the lineup when the Buffalo Sabres take on the Pittsburgh Penguins on Tuesday. Kane played multiple shifts after being injured in the second period on Monday but did not return for the third.
"Not much to tell other than he is day-to-day," Sabres coach Dan Bylsma said. "Once we get back to Buffalo we'll have a better idea of what he may be dealing with."
Cal O'Reilly will reenter the lineup in Kane's absence while his brother, Ryan, will play on the left wing with Jack Eichel at center and Sam Reinhart on the right. Ryan has played shifts with Eichel sporadically through the season, including after Kane's injury on Monday, but Tuesday will mark their first full game together.
Bylsma hopes that Eichel's playmaking ability can help end Ryan O'Reilly's current 24-game goal scoring drought (he has 18 assists in that span).
"With Ryan on the wing I think he'll have the benefit of Jack being the transporter of the puck, being a guy who can lug the puck and possibly be an opportunity for Ryan to be the recipient of a couple pucks and maybe have an opportunity to put one behind [Penguins goalie Matt] Murray tonight," Bylsma said.
Chad Johnson will make his second start in as many nights after giving up two goals in a 3-2 loss to Detroit on Monday. Johnson has started six-straight games since Robin Lehner aggravated his ankle injury on March 16.
"He's had a pretty big workload for him and he's had a lot of games," Bylsma said. "He's well prepared and I think more than able to go back-to-back like he is tonight."
The Penguins, meanwhile, are winners in eight of their last nine games despite the absence of second-leading scorer Evgeni Malkin. The Penguins lead the NHL with 48 goals and Sidney Crosby leads the league with 19 points (7+12) since the beginning of March.
Pittsburgh has ascended to third in the Metropolitan Division since coach Mike Sullivan was promoted from American Hockey League affiliate Wilkes-Barre/Scranton in December. It's a familiar situation for Bylsma, who took over as coach of the Penguins midway through the 2008-09 season.
Bylsma and the Penguins went on to win the Stanley Cup that year.
"I see a lot of similarities in how they're playing and the way the team is playing," Bylsma said. "And, frankly that’s a little bit scary, should be scary for a lot of people," Bylsma said.
Coverage on Tuesday begins at 6:30 p.m. with Tops Sabres Gamenight on MSG-B and Bell TV. The game can also be heard live on WGR 550.