By Mike Harrington
Coach Ted Nolan clarified the Sabres' goaltending situation in his pregame briefing with the media this way: Jhonas Enroth will start tonight against Montreal and emergency callup Nathan Lieuwen will be the backup. Michal Neuvirth is day to day with a lower-body injury suffered while he was in the crosshairs of the Carolina shooting gallery Thursday in Raleigh.
Nolan said Lieuwen may need to travel with the team tomorrow to Calgary if Neuvirth is not responding well to treatment. Nolan said the injury happened during Thursday's game but Neuvirth backed up yesterday on Long Island and the Sabres weren't clear there was an issue until after the morning skate.
"All of a sudden one of the guys told us he wasn't feeling too good going in," Nolan said, referring to the team trainers. "We went in the pregame skate and he did everything. He must have just tweaked something, I don't know, maybe walking over to the rink. I don't know when. It was serious enough to warrant a recall."
Enroth will be meeting Montreal third stringer Dustin Tokarski in net tonight. Tokarski has played just two games for the Habs but is spelling backup Peter Budaj. Starter Carey Price, who played last night against Ottawa for the first time since the Olympics because of a lower-body injury, did not even make the trip as the team opted to keep him home. Clearly no concern of a Sabres offensive explosion.
And why should there be? Buffalo has scored five goals in losing its last five games -- and all of them have been by either Drew Stafford or Tyler Ennis.
"We have what we have," Nolan said. "In order to score goals in this league, I don't care if you're a seasoned veteran or a rookie, it all stems from how hard you want to crash the net and the price you want to pay to go in front of that net to screen, rebound, fight for that. We're almost there but almost doesn't count. You've got to pay a certain price to score some goals."
The Sabres don't have much offense and they're still looking to fill the huge leadership void left by the trade of captain Steve Ott to St. Louis.
"When you lose your leadership, it takes a little while for it to come back," Nolan said. "Steve Ott was a big leader in that room. I noticed that the first day I got here. And all of a sudden he's gone. So we're waiting for certain guys to emerge as the next leaders. and it's tough. But they've got to find a way."
Nolan said Tyler Myers (arm) will be out tonight and remains day to day, although the team is hopeful he'll go on the Western swing. Torey Mitchell skated well on his own today and Nolan said he could play Tuesday in Calgary.
Click below to hear Nolan's entire meeting with reporters.
taggedMichal Neuvirth | Sabres game day | Ted Nolan