Nilsson allowed three goals on 41 shots in the Sabres’ shootout loss in Philadelphia on Tuesday. It was a great night for Nilsson, who surrendered two power-play goals in the final three minutes of the game. With Robin Lehner still sick, Nilsson will go again tonight vs. Minnesota. The Wild are 4-2-1 while averaging 3.43 goals per game to start the 2016-17 season.
Nilsson will start his first game of the season on Tuesday.
The Sabres’ No.1 netminder Robin Lehner will not be available on Tuesday because of an illness, so Nilsson will make his Sabres’ debut vs. the Flyers on Tuesday. Last year, Nilsson was 10-13-2 with a 3.12 GAA and .901 SV% with the Oilers and Blues last year and draws a tough matchup against a Flyers team who is averaging more than 3.00 goals per game.
Lehner allowed four goals on 34 shots in the Sabres’ loss in Calgary on Tuesday. Lehner has lost two of his first three starts while posting a 3.33 GAA and .890 SV%. Tonight he makes his fourth consecutive start and it comes against a surprising undefeated team in Vancouver. Lehner makes for a solid No.2 option tonight.
Lehner stopped 31 of 33 shots in the Sabres 6-2 win over the Oilers on Sunday. It was an excellent game for Lehner, who needed a bounce-back after a bad season opener. The 25-year-old has a solid .916 SV% in his NHL career and is capable of being a good No.1 goalie in this league, but he only needs to stay healthy, which has been tough for him to do.
Okposo (knee) will make his Sabres debut on Sunday.
Okposo missed the season opener with a bruised knee, but will be in the lineup tonight in Edmonton. Okposo is expected to make his debut on the top line with Sam Reinhart and Ryan O’Reilly. Okposo had 22 goals and 42 assists (64 points) in 79 games last year.
Kulikov (lower-body) will make his Sabres debut on Sunday.
Kulikov missed the Sabres’ season opener, but will be in the lineup when they take on the Oilers tonight. Kulikov will take Casey Nelson’s spot in the lineup and is expected to play on the third pairing with Cody Franson. The 25-year-old had one goal and 16 assists (17 points) in 74 games a season ago.
The Sabres have recalled Nick Baptiste from Rochester (AHL).
The Sabres have been hit hard by injuries to start the season, losing both Jack Eichel and Evander Kane to week-to-week injuries and Baptiste is the first call-up from Rochester. Baptiste has never appeared in an NHL game, but had 28 points (13G / 15A) in 62 AHL games last year and one goal and one assist in Rochester’s season opener.
Kane will miss several weeks with three cracked ribs.
Kane was brought to hospital for precautionary reasons after crashing into the end boards last night. Further evaluation revealed that Kane cracked three ribs and he will be out for “weeks” according to head coach Dan Bylsma. This is a tough blow for the Sabres, who will already be without Jack Eichel for what appears to be 6-8 weeks.
Kulikov (lower-body) could make his Sabres debut on Sunday.
Kulikov missed the Sabres’ season opener on Thursday but was on the ice for practice on Friday and is encouraged that he will be able to play on Sunday. Kulikov was skating on the third pair with Cody Franson.
Okposo (knee) could make his Sabres debut on Sunday.
After missing Thursday’s season opener, Okposo was on the ice on Friday and is encouraged that he will be in the lineup on Sunday. Okposo said that his knee swelled to the size of a beach ball—I don’t believe him—but it looks like he will be in the lineup in Edmonton this weekend. This is big news for a Sabres team that has already lost Jack Eichel and Evander Kane.
Eichel was hurt in Wednesday’s practice and the Sabres said it was a high ankle sprain but did not give a timetable for his return. On Thursday, Sabres’ GM Tim Murray said that 6-8 weeks could be a possible timetable for Eichel. The second-year forward can’t put any weight on his injured ankle, he was seen on Thursday using a scooter to get around.
Kane was taken to hospital for further evaluation after heavy collision with the boards.
Kane slid hard into the end-boards during the Sabres’ season opener on Thursday and was taken to hospital for further evaluation and precautionary measures. It has been a tough start to the year for Sabres, who are already without Jack Eichel for at least a few weeks and both Kyle Okposo and Dmitry Kulikov are day-to-day.
O’Reilly (back) will play in the Sabres’ season opener.
O’Reilly was battling a back injury in the preseason but will be in the lineup for the first game of the season. O’Reilly will not be able to take all of the face-offs tonight, which means Sam Reinhart will have to draw in, but he shouldn’t be too limited otherwise. He will play on the top line between Reinhart and Evander Kane.