By John Vogl
Ted Nolan has been very patient with his forward lines since taking over as coach. He wanted to give players a chance to perform with consistent linemates before making sweeping changes.
The time has come to make those changes.
The Sabres went with four new lines for practice today and will likely use them Tuesday when Ottawa visits First Niagara Center.
"When you’re not getting wins, sometimes things have to change," said left wing Matt Moulson. "You’ve got to perform and produce to keep going. Coach is looking for some different combinations to get things going, and hopefully everyone jells together."
The Sabres have just 10 goals in the last eight games, with droughts dotting the lineup. The new lines:
Moulson-Tyler Ennis-Zemgus Girgensons
Marcus Foligno-Steve Ott-Drew Stafford
Luke Adam-Cody Hodgson-Matt D'Agostini
John Scott-Ville Leino/Cody McCormick-Brian Flynn
The first line had been Hodgson in the middle of Moulson and Stafford.
"Our top line is having a little trouble," Nolan said. "Maybe the chemistry isn’t quite right, so we talked to them and decided instead of trying to have one we’ll have three. We have to get this thing turned around together."
Defenseman Alexander Sulzer returned to practice for the first time in a week but will not play Tuesday.
Meanwhile, rookie defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen has been named to Finland's world junior team. He suffered a concussion last week playing in Rochester but is still expected to play for his home country.
"I’m quite sure we’ll give him permission to play there," Nolan said.