Banged-up Sabres host Devils
BUFFALO, N.Y. — Just as soon as the Buffalo Sabres get some positive injury news, they receive another setback on the injury front.
After Evander Kane's long-awaited return on Wednesday, the Sabres announced Thursday that center Tyler Ennis is expected to miss several weeks after undergoing surgery to repair a groin injury.
“It's disappointing for Tyler,” said Sabres head coach Dan Bylsma, according to the team's website. “This is a situation he's been dealing with for the past little while, days, maybe a week. I'm kind of just extremely disappointed to get the news that he's going to be out for a bit of time, have the surgery which he had this morning. He's had a tough go getting on the ice and playing games for the last nine months.”
The skilled playmaker has been struggling with injuries going back to last season, when he played in just 23 games.
Top center Ryan O'Reilly and defenseman Dmitry Kulikov missed practice on Wednesday and their status is up in the air for Friday's game against the New Jersey Devils (6-3-3). O'Reilly was unable to play in Buffalo's 2-1 shootout loss to the Ottawa Senators on Wednesday, and the Sabres missed his presence in the offensive zone. Both teams struggled to put together any offense in a defensive-minded clash.
Sabres goalie Robin Lehner (4-4-0, .929 save percentage) has gotten off to a fine start to the season but is expected to take Friday's game off before returning in the second half of a home-and-home series against the Devils. In his place is Anders Nilsson, who has exceeded early expectations with a save percentage of .937 in three games.
No matter who is between the pipes, the Sabres will need a better offensive effort. Aside from an overtime period in which Buffalo held the upper hand (outshooting Ottawa 8-0), neither team had much offense in the shootout defeat on Wednesday.
The Devils are coming off back-to-back wins over the Carolina Hurricanes. New Jersey defeated Carolina 4-1 on Sunday before a 3-2 win shootout win over the Hurricanes on Tuesday.
Left winger Michael Cammalleri had a hat trick in the 4-1 victory over Carolina, recording his first three goals of the year. Waiver-wire acquisition P.A. Parenteau came up big in the shootout win over Carolina, scoring in both regulation and the shootout.
Parenteau was claimed off waivers just before the start of the season from the New York Islanders and has been a difference-maker. He's currently tied for the team lead in goals with five.
“I don't know if I want to prove something, to be honest,” Parenteau said, according to The Record. “I just want to put that behind me. I'm happy where I am right now and things are working out, and this is a good hockey team that I'm part of and the boys have made it easy for me.”
“He brings a lot of skill,” left winger Taylor Hall said, according to The Record. “He's a guy that's always looking to make a play. We're trying to get him to shoot more and have more of that.”