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CANUCKS RETURN TO BUFFALO

Thursday, 10.17.2013 / 2:00 PM
By Chris Ryndak - Sabres.com (@chrisryndak) / THE MORNING SKATE
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THE MORNING SKATE
CANUCKS RETURN TO BUFFALO

It’s been awhile, but the Vancouver Canucks are finally back in Buffalo.

The Buffalo Sabres will host the Canucks at First Niagara Center for the first time since Nov. 15, 2010. Buffalo won that game 4-3 thanks to a goal by Tyler Myers in overtime.

Sabres defenseman Christian Ehrhoff said he’s looking forward to facing his old team even though there are many new faces on the other side, including Canucks coach John Tortorella. Ehrhoff played two seasons in Vancouver before signing with the Sabres in the summer of 2011.

“It’s going to be fun to see the guys, but they have a new coaching staff, so it’s going to be a totally different look playing against them and I’m anxious to get out there tonight,” he said.

The Sabres won the last meeting between the two clubs by a score of 5-3 on March 3, 2012 in Vancouver. The Canucks haven’t won in Buffalo since Feb. 7, 2003.


Cody Hodgson, another former Canuck, did not partake in the morning skate, but will play Thursday. A lower-body injury has caused him to take a few maintenance days in lieu of practicing with the team. Hodgson hasn’t missed any game action.

“He’s actually real close [to 100 percent]. We’re actually probably in the last week of it right now,” Rolston said. “He’s playing through some things, but he’ll be in the lineup tonight.”


The coaching staff moved Marcus Foligno to center on Tuesday and he’ll remain there for the time being. His line with wings Tyler Ennis and Drew Stafford produced two goals against the Islanders. He’ll likely see work against Henrik Sedin on Thursday.

“We have faith that Marcus can handle those situations,” Rolston said. “Again, it offers us a big centerman that can handle some of the bigger guys in the League, whether it’s the Sedins or [John] Tavares the other night. You’ve got big guys like [Eric] Staal, where you need that big body in there, a big centerman. But we have confidence in him.”


Ryan Miller was the first goaltender off the ice in practice and is expected to start in net.

Nikita Zadorov also skated with the team, but remains on the injured non-roster list. Rolston said that Zadorov is still working his way back from a finger injury sustained in the preseason and a decision will not have to be made on whether or not to send him back to the London Knights of the Ontario Hockey League until the team is healthier.

Patrick Kaleta will miss his fourth-straight game due to a 10-game suspension. The NHL suspended him for a hit he put on Columbus defenseman Jack Johnson on Oct. 10. Kaleta cannot play even during an appeal process.

The Sabres will be without left wing Zemgus Girgensons as well. A shot deflected up and hit him in the face in the first period on Tuesday, leaving his left eye bruised and swollen. He joined the team on the ice midway through the morning skate on Thursday while wearing a full cage on his helmet. Rolston hopes Girgensons will be ready to play on Saturday against Colorado.

“It’s actually gotten better. He’s got a little slit there he can see out of, but he won’t be in tonight … It’s come a long way over a short period of time,” Rolston said.


After playing three games in four nights, the Sabres had a mandatory day off on Wednesday. Rolston said that the schedule has made it difficult to get practices in and that it reminds him a lot of what the team went through during the lockout-shortened season last year.

“In those situations, we actually try to bring the energy back to the rink because after a day off usually, whether it’s passing or just getting the cobwebs out after a day off, so these are treated like a mini-practice you have to have out there,” he said.

“Now, like it was last year, a lot of it is trying to find the time to make adjustments and teach, but also manage energy with the game schedule that you have. It’s important that the guys have their energy during the games.”


26 Thomas Vanek – 19 Cody Hodgson – 9 Steve Ott
63 Tyler Ennis – 82 Marcus Foligno – 21 Drew Stafford
12 Kevin Porter – 22 Johan Larsson – 65 Brian Flynn
32 John Scott – 25 Mikhail Grigorenko – 8 Cody McCormick

10 Christian Ehrhoff – 3 Mark Pysyk
20 Henrik Tallinder – 57 Tyler Myers
6 Mike Weber – 55 Rasmus Ristolainen

30 Ryan Miller
1 Jhonas Enroth

Scratched: 4 Jamie McBain, 28 Zemgus Girgensons
Suspended: 36 Patrick Kaleta

SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 p - BOS 82 54 19 9 261 177 117
2 y - PIT 82 51 24 7 249 207 109
3 x - TBL 82 46 27 9 240 215 101
4 x - MTL 82 46 28 8 215 204 100
5 x - NYR 82 45 31 6 218 193 96
6 x - PHI 82 42 30 10 236 235 94
7 x - CBJ 82 43 32 7 231 216 93
8 x - DET 82 39 28 15 222 230 93
9 WSH 82 38 30 14 235 240 90
10 NJD 82 35 29 18 197 208 88
11 OTT 82 37 31 14 236 265 88
12 TOR 82 38 36 8 231 256 84
13 CAR 82 36 35 11 207 230 83
14 NYI 82 34 37 11 225 267 79
15 FLA 82 29 45 8 196 268 66
16 BUF 82 21 51 10 157 248 52

STATS

2013-2014 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
C. Hodgson 72 20 24 -26 44
T. Ennis 80 21 22 -25 43
D. Stafford 70 16 18 -19 34
C. Ehrhoff 79 6 27 -27 33
C. Stewart 63 15 11 0 26
C. Conacher 79 7 19 1 26
T. Myers 62 9 13 -26 22
Z. Girgensons 70 8 14 -6 22
M. Foligno 74 7 12 -17 19
J. McBain 69 6 11 -13 17
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
M. Neuvirth 4 8 2 .921 2.78
J. Enroth 4 17 5 .911 2.82