Sabres Antipin will be a healthy scratch

February 6, 2018

Buffalo, NY (WGR 550) - Victor Antipin played five games after being benched and having the flu, but he once again is a healthy scratch against the Ducks.

Anaheim is one of the biggest and strongest teams that you’ll face and Housley did say he liked Justin Falk’s toughness. Phil Housley said, “I really liked the games he (Antipin) played up in Edmonton and Vancouver where he was take-charge. He was very noticeable. I think he got away from that. For him to stay in the lineup, that's what we're looking for.

“I thought he was really taking charge of the puck in our own end, very comfortable with it, making that first pass, creating his own space and even in the offensive zone, he got involved in the play.

Housley isn't into just playing a guy because he's young. Housley said, "I just feel that when you lose some games, changes are going to be made, but he's going to get back in the lineup eventually. It's not that he's played horribly but I think we need him more to take charge."

The Sabres are 6-15-2 in this building and have lost four straight here. Robin Lehner has only given up three goals in his last four starts, but he only won two of those games and both were shutouts.

Lehner lost last time out to St. Louis 1-0 and is 11-20-6 overall with a 2.80 goals against and .914 save percentage.

Jack Eichel had been red hot from Dec. 2 through Jan. 23, but he’s been pointless in his last four. Evander Kane doesn’t have a point in eight games and just one point in 12.

Jason Pominville is pointless in nine games and has one point in 11.

Benoit Pouliot has two points in 17 games, while Zemgus Girgensons has two points in 14 games.

With John Gibson hurt, former Sabre Ryan Miller has been playing more. Tonight will be Miller’s fifth straight game. He’s given up nine goals in his last two games which covers 68:47 of playing time. Overall Miller is 6-4-5-with a 2.67 goals against and .915 save percentage.

He’s only played one game in Buffalo since the Sabres traded him to St. Louis. It was a loss with Vancouver where he gave up three goals on 22 shots. Miller said the approach will be different tonight, “It was a little bit overwhelming at the time, but this time around, I’m going to try to have a little bit more fun with it.”

Anaheim was in Toronto last night and lost 7-4. This is the final game of its five-game road trip. The Ducks beat Boston, lost in overtime to Ottawa and then lost in Montreal and Toronto by a combined score of 12-6.

In the last three games, the Ducks have only killed off eight of 14 penalties.

Adam Henrique was traded from New Jersey to the Ducks on Nov. 30 and he’s second on the team with 15 goals. Rickard Rakell leads with 21 goals.

Henrique had a streak of six goals and eight points in six games, but he’s been pointless in his last three.

Rakell is at the other end with points in four straight games scoring three goals and five assists. Since Oct. 20, Rakell hasn’t gone more than two games without a point.

The Ducks are in 5th place in the Pacific Division with 60 points. That’s tied with Calgary and one point in back of Los Angeles. They are also just one point behind Minnesota for the Western Conference’s final wild card spot.

Ryan Getzlaf is the captain and the clear leader of this team. Injuries have limited the big center to just 30 games. He has 33 points in that time. Their best two-way center, Ryan Kesler has only played 17 games this season.

Former Sabre Derek Grant had never score a goal in the NHL, but he has eight this season in 42 games with the Ducks. He played 40 games in Buffalo and never score a goal. He did have three assists.

Join Schopp and the Bulldog at 6:00 for the pregame live from 716 when they’ll be joined by Phil Housley, Ryan Miller, Robin Lehner and Jordan Nolan. I spoke with Nolan about the Sabres ‘Hockey is for Everyone’ Night. This month is ‘Hockey is for Everyone’ month in the NHL. It promotes the inclusion of players, coaches and fans of every race, religion, gender, sexual orientation and those with disabilities.