BUFFALO – Patrick Kaleta’s home season debut will have to wait. Sabres coach Ted Nolan will scratch the winger for tonight’s tilt against the Toronto Maple Leafs inside the First Niagara Center.
The Angola native played his first NHL game since Oct. 10, 2013 on Thursday, a 6-3 loss in Minnesota.
Kaleta tore his ACL almost a year ago in the AHL and took a puck to the face Sept. 28. Nolan thinks after playing eight minutes, six seconds against the speedy Wild, Kaleta should rest.
“He’s been out almost a year of hockey,” Nolan said. “You don’t want to put him right into the fire, put him into games. You want to break him in, give him a little time to adjust.”
Marcus Foligno, out five of the last six games with a shoulder injury, will replace Kaleta. The Sabres will make one change on defense, inserting Andrej Meszaros, a healthy scratch the last three contests, for Andre Benoit.
There was some speculation Nolan might bench struggling forwards Cody Hodgson and Chris Stewart, who both have one goal and two points in 18 games. Both played about eight minutes Thursday.
Nolan said Friday he wanted more anger from Hodgson and Stewart.
Hodgson, who’s been in Nolan’s doghouse all season, believes “frustration only leads to more frustration.”
Nolan said Hodgson has been meeting every day with assistant coach Bryan Trottier.
“When you go through something like this, the only thing that you can do is have some perseverance and keep doing it,” he said.
Stewart, meanwhile, knows he must be better.
“You play eight minutes, I think the message is sent, your play’s not good enough,” he said. “So I got to rise to the occasion, and that’s fine.”
In injury news, Nolan said defenseman Josh Gorges, who suffered a lower-body injury Tuesday, will be “out a little bit.” He said the team will give more details later.
The Sabres, losers of four straight games, are 13-1-1 in their last 15 home games against the Leafs. Nolan beat Toronto in his debut as Sabres coach one year ago today.