By Mike Harrington
PHILADELPHIA -- The Sabres will continue to field a pretty thin lineup for tonight's game against the Flyers in Wells Fargo Center (reminder: 7:30 on NBCSN, not MSG). But Ted Nolan was optimistic after today's morning skate that could change in a big way as soon as Tuesday's visit by Detroit to First Niagara Center.
Marcus Foligno, Chris Stewart and Drew Stafford will all sit out again today but Foligno and Stewart skated fully. And even though Stafford did not take the ice, Nolan said there's a good chance all three could play against the Red Wings.
Seeing Foligno in particular was a shock. Nolan ruled him out for the season after the winger suffered what looked like a serious knee injury Thursday in St. Louis.
"I was very shocked and quite surprised he was able to walk around yesterday," Nolan said. "So to see him on the ice is very encouraging news."
"It was pretty gross," Foligno said of the replay of him going to the ice. "If you had told me I was gonna be skating while I was falling, I would have told you I had no chance. It's felt pretty good. After coming off it was more of a stinger and bone bruise. No ACL, MCL, meniscus. I was able to keep icing it, days off and today back on the ice."
Nolan said forward Torrey Mitchell could return Tuesday, or Thursday in New York. So if the Sabres get some help up front, it could be a factor in their quest to avoid being the NHL's lowest-scoring team since expansion. And the return of all four players would mean Luke Adam, Johan Larsson and perhaps Nicolas Deslauriers can head to Rochester to help the Amerks' playoff quest, which got a big boost Saturday in Toronto.
So who IS up front tonight? The lines this morning looked like this:
As for other injured Sabres, Mike Weber is nursing a foot problem and didn't skate but will play tonight. Nolan also expects Tyler Myers to play this week. On the down side, the coach has pretty much ruled out the return of Jhonas Enroth and Michal Neuvirth this season.
"I don't see it unless there's another Marcus Foligno miracle happening with those two guys," Nolan said.
Nathan Lieuwen will get the start in goal tonight, while the Flyers will go with Steve Mason. Philly had an optional skate this morning after yesterday's 5-2 loss in Boston that dropped the Flyers to 1-4-2 in their last seven games.
Click below to hear today's sessions with the media by Nolan and Foligno: