By Mike Harrington
The Sabres' lineup for tonight's game against Boston will be a game-time decision but interim coach Ted Nolan said this morning that Tyler Ennis won't play. Stand down, trade rumor mongers: Ennis took a hard hit into the boards in the third period last night and Nolan said he's day to day with "general body soreness".
Ennis is Buffalo's second-leading scorer with 30 points (14-16) and has seven points in the last seven games. He scored a go-ahead goal in the third period last night against Carolina, making a headlong dive to puck the poke through the crease past Carolina's Cam Ward. Only a few players skated this morning and the lines won't be formed until warmups but the scuttlebutt is that Ville Leino will get the first chance to go between Matt Moulson and Drew Stafford.
Henrik Tallinder will go back in on defense after sitting out last night's win following his return from Sochi. John Scott, who played on defense last night with Jamie McBain, could sit tonight or move up to forward. As Nolan planned over the weekend, Jhonas Enroth will be in goal against Boston's Chad Johnson in a battle of backups.
Center Zenon Konopka confirmed this morning he had surgery on his left pinkie over the Olympic hiatus after breaking the finger in October while playing for Minnesota. Konopka said he's going to play tonight although Nolan did not confirm his spot in the lineup.
"You love to get back in there," said Konopka, who has one assist in 13 games with the Sabres. "You love to play hockey so it's going to be exciting. It's always a good rivalry with Boston so it will be fun."
TSN floated Konopka's name yesterday as a possible trade acquisition for a team looking for a veteran to help with faceoffs. Konopka said simply it's that time of year.
"The older you get, the more you realize you can't control it so why worry about it?" he said. "Everything happens for a reason. It's an adventure. I've been outspoken growing up right around Buffalo (in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ont.). I love it here. I want to be here long term. But I understand it's a business and there will be guys moved at the deadline. What's meant to be is meant to be."
The Sabres will have to play a much better game tonight in front of Enroth than they did last night against Ryan Miller. Nolan expected them to be moving well and it didn't work out that way as Carolina had a 38-18 advantage in shots.
"I was a little bit surprised but this year a lot of things don't surprise me," Nolan said. "We weren't up to par, it took us a little while to get our game going but we got it going enough to get that win.
"You look at the first games of the regular season and they're a little bit rusty and shaky. It takes a little while no matter how much preparation and practice you do. There's nothing like game time. I thought both teams were a little bit shaky at points but it's going to get better."
taggedSabres game day | Tyler Ennis