Jhonas Enroth will not join the Buffalo Sabres on their five-game road swing, and with backup Michal Neuvirth also injured, the league’s worst team will likely begin its trip with a No. 1 goaltender who has 22 minutes of NHL game experience under his belt.
Nathan Lieuwen will probably make his first career start Tuesday night when the Sabres take on the Calgary Flames.
Enroth sustained a lower-body injury in Sunday’s 2-0 loss to Montreal.
”He’s going to get further evaluation and stay behind,” coach Ted Nolan said Monday. ”Right now it looks at least a little bit better today than it did yesterday.”
After the Sabres (19-41-8) flew out of Buffalo on Monday, Enroth posted on his Twitter account a photo of his right leg in an immobilizing device and wrote, ”For the next couple weeks … "
Lieuwen stopped all 10 shots he faced in his NHL debut Sunday after being called up from AHL Rochester earlier in the day. Buffalo also called up Matt Hackett from Rochester on Monday to back up Lieuwen.
Hackett, a former third-round draft pick, played 13 games with Minnesota from 2011-13 before the Sabres traded for him last April 3.
Nolan said Neuvirth will travel with the Sabres, but his status for Tuesday is up in the air. Neuvirth has missed two games with a lower-body injury, but was able to work out on the ice Monday.
”He’s a day-to-day-er,” Nolan said. ”He could wake up (Tuesday) morning fresh as a daisy.”
The Sabres have gone through several goalies since trading Ryan Miller to St. Louis on Feb. 28.
In addition to Enroth, Neuvirth and Lieuwen, the Sabres have dressed Jaroslav Halak, who was acquired in the Miller trade and backed up Enroth for one game before being dealt to Washington, and Ryan Vinz, a HarborCenter employee summoned in a pinch as Enroth’s backup after Miller’s trade was made an hour before the Sabres game against the Sharks.
Neuvirth has started two games since he was acquired for Halak on March 5. He made 51 saves Thursday in a 4-2 loss at Carolina, but complained of soreness during warmups Saturday prior to Buffalo’s 4-1 loss at the New York Islanders.
”It was a tough game in Carolina,” Neuvirth said. ”I can’t really tell you what happened because I don’t even know. I woke up the next morning and I was sore.”
Enroth was hurt after being bowled over by Canadiens forward Brendan Gallagher in the second period Sunday.
He was on the ice for a few minutes before he got up and attempted to stretch his right leg while being examined by a trainer. Enroth then skated to the bench and was escorted into the locker room.
Lieuwen, a former sixth-round draft pick, was forced into action for the third time in three nights after playing Friday and Saturday in the minors.
”Usually after three in three, you’re a little more tired and sore, but I actually feel really good,” Lieuwen said Monday. ”I feel like I have the energy and I feel like the adrenaline’s starting to ease off a little bit. I can kind of ease off and get comfortable and do my thing.”
The Sabres continue to slide, having lost six straight in regulation – their worst streak since losing seven in a row Dec. 4-19, 2003. They have scored just five goals in the past six games and have a league-low 132 goals on the season.
Buffalo has dropped three in a row in Calgary since a 2-0 win Oct. 18, 2003. The Flames (27-34-7) won 2-1 in overtime at Buffalo on Dec. 14 on Matt Stajan’s goal.
Stajan returned to the Flames on Monday and participated in practice after taking an extended personal leave following the death of his infant son March 3.
”We would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone for the incredible outpouring of love and support, during this very difficult time,” Stajan and his wife Katie said in a statement released by the Flames on Monday.
Calgary went 4-4-0 in Stajan’s absence, losing 3-2 at Phoenix on Saturday following consecutive wins. Signed to a four-year extension Jan. 20, Stajan has 10 goals and 13 assists in 52 games.
The Flames are 8-2-0 in their last 10 at home.