BUFFALO – Sabres center Dylan Cozens, who left Thursday’s 5-2 loss after getting hit into the boards, did not practice Friday and is day to day with an upper-body injury, coach Ralph Krueger said.
“We’re still doing further evaluations today,” Krueger said on a Zoom call.
Cozens’ head bit the boards hard and he got up slowly after Pittsburgh Penguins center Zach Aston-Reese hit him 2:27 into the third period. The rookie left the game and did not return.
Just 20 games into his NHL career, Cozens, 20, has established himself as one of the Sabres’ top players. He filled in for captain Jack Eichel as the No. 1 center twice this week.
Riley Sheahan, a fourth-line winger most of this season, subbed for Cozens between Taylor Hall and Sam Reinhart during Friday’s practice inside KeyBank Center.
In other news, Krueger said goalie Carter Hutton will start tonight’s game against the Penguins. Hutton has compiled a 5-1-0 record, a .940 save percentage and two shutouts in eight career games against them. Jonas Johansson played Thursday’s contest.
Sabres defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen missed Friday’s session, possibly for maintenance. The Finn has played eight straight games after recovering from a difficult battle with COVID-19.
Brandon Davidson and Henri Jokiharju practiced among the top-six defensemen Friday. Jokiharju, a healthy scratch Thursday, could replace Matt Irwin tonight. Irwin skated as an extra defender.
Defenseman Rasmus Dahlin, who took a knee-on-knee hit from ex-Sabres defenseman Chad Ruhwedel on Thursday, also practiced.
Dahlin grabbed his left knee after the hit, got up slowly and appeared to be in pain when he returned to the bench.
Tonight’s Rochester Americans home game against the Utica Comets has been postponed to a later date “out of an abundance of caution in regard to league COVID-19 protocols,” according to Buffalo’s AHL affiliate.
At least one Amerks player has tested positive for COVID-19, according to The Buffalo News.
Krueger said the Amerks are quarantining and “going through the same protocol that we did here.” Seven Sabres players and Krueger tested positive for COVID-19 last month.
Thursday’s Amerks game was also postponed.