BUFFALO – Tyler Ennis is often the Sabres’ only offensive threat. So why did coach Ted Nolan switch the speedster from center to right wing beside Zemgus Girgensons and Matt Moulson today?
You try everything when you only have three wins and 18 goals in 16 games. Ennis has a team-high four goals.
“When you run into obstacles, you don’t stop and quit, and you got to find a way to get over around it or through it,” Nolan said this afternoon inside the First Niagara Center.
Ennis, a center the last year or so, understands the move.
“As a team, it’s not going,” he said. “If I have to play wing, I got to be great at wing. I got to do my job. I didn’t do my job well enough at center. We’re not having a great start to the season. Maybe this will spark us.”
Nolan believes it could ignite Moulson, who has only one goal.
“We got to get Matty Moulson going,” he said. “Going with Girgensons and Tyler, we feel that could be a legitimate No. 1 line. So we’ll go from there.”
Nolan made one other surprising move today, putting Drew Stafford, a winger his entire career, at center between Nick Deslauriers, Cody Hodgson and Patrick Kaleta, who could play Tuesday.
Stafford visited Nolan’s office recently and asked about trying something new.
“He sees the position, he sees an opportunity,” Nolan said. “So we discussed it.”
Nolan wouldn’t say if Stafford will play center Tuesday in St. Louis.
In lineup news, Nolan said Kaleta, out since Sept. 28, has the “green light.” Winger Marcus Foligno can also play (shoulder, four games).
Only one will likely return.
“They’ll both be a little bit rusty missing some time,” Nolan said. “So we’ll see who the best of the best is feeling health-wise.”
Kaleta hasn’t played an NHL game since Oct. 10, 2013.
The rest of today’s lines: Torrey Mitchell, Brian Flynn, Brian Gionta; Foligno, Cody McCormick, Chris Stewart.