Sabres' Girgensons had to change positions again

March 2, 2018

Sunrise, FL (WGR 550) - Zemgus Girgensons was drafted as a center, but for the past few years, he’s been mostly a left winger. He has bounced back and forth many times in his 335 games NHL career. He said, “It’s not a bad thing, I’ve just got to fill in a spot, we lost E-Rod so I was the best option I guess and we’ll see how it goes.”

Phil Housley said Evan Rodrigues has an upper-body and is day-to-day.

Girgensons has played both positions in one game before. He said, “I feel comfortable playing both. Maybe the first couple of shifts will be hard to get into as a center, but I’m used to it, so it’s pretty easy to adapt.” By the third period he was OK as he even covered for the pinching Justin Falk.

Most players say one end of the ice is more difficult to adapt to when you’re playing center. Girgensons agrees, “Probably more defensive zone cause you’ve got to play low and I do like playing low, but if you play enough games on the wing, you kind of get away from the center mindset, so I’ve just got to watch a couple of shifts before the game and refresh the memory.”

During the game Girgensons centered Kyle Okposo and Nick Baptiste. On his first shift Girgensons lost his only faceoff of the period and the puck wound up in the net. Girgensons did what he’s supposed to do when you lose the draw, he stayed with the centerman, but they both wondered in front of Robin Lehner screening him for a goal.

It didn’t take him long to get used to the breakout as he got the puck out fast. He kept going up ice getting a good tip in front of James Reimer.

In the second, Girgensons made a good play on Aleksander Barkov coming through the neutral zone, it’s the only time the Sabres stopped Barkov all night.

After two periods Girgensons played 8:44 and was minus two. He had only won three of seven faceoffs, none in the second period.

Girgensons had a good penalty kill in the third period. He led a 3-on-2 rush up ice, but had his shot deflected.        

Nick Baptiste had a rough go of it playing the off wing on this line, so Seth Griffith took over in the third period. Baptiste looked much better on the Josefson line.

At the end of the game there was a big scrum where a couple of different fights broke out. Robin Lehner even dropped his stick and came out of his crease to makle sure it was even. It was pretty disappointing that Girgensons was the only one that didn't drop his stick and gloves to help out.

Girgensons played 14:56 and was on the ice for two goals. Phil Housley was very upset they gave up two faceoff goals and Girgensons lost one of those draws. He was four of nine on faceoffs winning only one draw after the first period. Girgensons had no shots and one hit.

I did think he was strong on the penalty kill where he played 2:21.