BUFFALO – While the top line remained intact, Sabres coach Ted Nolan rearranged his other three trios today, an attempt to jumpstart the struggling team.
The new lines, left to right: Brian Flynn beside Mikhail Grigorenko and Chris Stewart; Cody Hodgson with Cody McCormick and Drew Stafford; Nick Deslauriers beside Johan Larsson and Patrick Kaleta.
Injuries and illness have ravaged the Sabres recently. They haven’t had a second line with Marcus Foligno and Brian Gionta sidelined.
“If you looked at our last seven games or so, and you look at the manpower we lost, it’s a long list, and it’s been going on a while,” Nolan said following practice inside the First Niagara Center. “When that happens, you have a tendency to overtax some lines and put some people in positions of little bit more minutes. So everything’s a little bit out of whack.
“By switching it up here today, hopefully we’ll settle the waters down here a little bit.”
There’s some good lineup news. Defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen (flu, two games) practiced today and will likely play Friday against Florida. Nolan still had to discuss Ristolainen’s status with the medical team.
“He looks ready and able,” Nolan said.
With Ristolainen likely back, the Sabres sent defenseman Mark Pysyk back to Rochester today.
Nolan also said defenseman Tyler Myers (lower body, five games) could join the Sabres on their road trip next week. Myers skated before his teammates today.
“He’s close,” Nolan said. “He’s getting a lot better. A couple days ago he wasn’t. It must be the New Year. He has a new, fresh start. He feels good today.”