The Sabres have another injury

March 2, 2018
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Sunrise, FL (WGR 550) - The Sabres will have to face the red hot Florida Panthers without Evan Rodrigues. Phil Housley said he’s day-to-day with an upper-body injury.

That puts Zemgus Girgensons back at center between Kyle Okposo and Nick Baptiste. The other lines are:

 

Pouliot  O’Reilly  Reinhart

Wilson  Larsson  Pominville

Nolan  Josefson  Griffith

 

Scandella  Ristolainen

Antipin  Nelson

Beaulieu  Falk

 

As you can see, Kyle Okposo is back after his wife gave birth to a baby girl. Okposo is still wearing his hospital bracelet. He said, “Everything went well, long labor, but we got it done so really happy.”

Okposo got to Fort Lauderdale on Thursday and was able to get some skating in despite the team having the day off. Okposo said he had to catch up on his sleep, “I got in yesterday morning, came here, skated, took a nap and then slept a lot, so I’m doing all right.”

The Sabres are 6-4-1 in their last 11 games.

Robin Lehner returns to the net after Chad Johnson got two straight starts giving up just two goals in wins over Boston and Tampa Bay. Things haven't gone well for Lehner lately as he’s given up 25 goals in his last seven games.

The Sabres are playing their first game in Sunrise after losing in Buffalo to the Panthers 4-2 and 4-1. Housley knows his team will have to play physical, “I think we’ve just got to be ready because it’s going to be a physical game. They’re a team that likes to finish checks and we have to be prepared for that.

“One area we’re going to focus on is getting pucks to the net early.”

Aleksander Barkov is an All-Star and is far and away Florida’s best player He has 61 points and 60 games, but some folks in the NHL don’t know much about him. Phil Housley certainly does, “I think if you ask his peers, they understand what type of player he is. He’s a 200 foot guy who plays the game the right way, he’s relied upon to play a lot of big minutes (22:24 per game) in all situations.”

Barkov has eight goals and 10 assists for 18 points in his last 13 games.

The Panthers have won four straight and 11 out of 13. That has them in fourth place in the Atlantic Division, still 19 points behind Toronto. Florida is just three in back of Columbus for the Eastern Conference’s final playoff spot.

James Reimer gets the call in net for the Panthers. He’s won two of his last three starts, but has given up 15 goals.

Vincent Trocheck has six goals and nine points in his last nine games.

Evgeni Dadonov has seven goals and five assists for 12 points in his last nine games.

Join the Bulldog at 6:30 for the pregame as he'll be joined by Phil Housley, Kyle Okposo and Zemgus Girgensons