BUFFALO – Before practice started this morning, goalie coach Andrew Allen, 40, was on the ice in full gear putting a few players through some paces, a sign one of the Sabres’ regulars was unavailable.
It turns out No. 1 goalie Robin Lehner is sick and unavailable for Tuesday’s tilt in Philadelphia, coach Dan Bylsma said.
“Hoping he would pull through this morning,” Bylsma said inside KeyBank Center.
Bylsma said backup Anders Nilsson will make his first start. The Sabres will also likely recall a goalie.
Update: The Sabres have summoned goalie Linus Ullmark from the Rochester Americans.
In four games, Ullmark is 3-1 with a 2.75 goals-against average and a .926 save percentage. He stopped 72 of 75 shots in the AHL club’s two weekend wins.
In the meantime, Allen, who retired in 2005, practiced fully in leftover equipment from past Sabres goalies.
“I thought our third goalie today was not very good,” Bylsma joked.
Allen also practiced once in March. Other than that, he hasn’t been on the ice in five years.
“I got a little better as practice went on,” a smiling Allen said. “The first drill was tough. Reaction speed’s not what it used to be.”
Nilsson, meanwhile, has been patiently waiting as Lehner started the first four contests. With the schedule ramping up, Bylsma will be giving him more work.
“Since Day One of camp Anders has been a complete professional and warrior in net,” Bylsma said. ‘He’s battled in every practice, every scrimmage (and) every opportunity he’s got in net.”
Nilsson enjoyed a strong preseason, posting a shutout. Tuesday will be the Swede’s 53rd NHL appearance and first since April 9 with St. Louis.
“I’ve been trying to go out in practice and see it as a game,” Nilsson said.
Check back later for more, including a story on Sam Reinhart’s move to center.