BUFFALO – After playing three straight games, Sabres defenseman Casey Nelson will sit out tonight’s contest against the Dallas Stars as a healthy scratch.
Why? Well, Sabres coach Phil Housley said Nelson will be scratched mainly because his play “has dipped the last couple games.”
“We’ve got some other guys there available and we haven’t had a lot of success, so we’ve made some changes,” Housley said this morning inside KeyBank Center.
But there could be another reason Nelson, who recently played his first NHL game since Dec. 4, has become a healthy scratch again.
After Avalanche defenseman Nikita Zadorov drilled Sabres captain Jack Eichel after the whistle Saturday afternoon, knocking him into the boards and ripping off his helmet, Nelson offered a tepid response.
Nelson, who was first on the scene, glided up and didn’t go after Zadorov. Soon, the rest of the Sabres on the ice sparked a short melee.
Would Housley have liked a stronger response following the hit? No one fought Zadorov.
“I’m not going to get into that,” Housley said. “We had a discussion with (Nelson). We’ll just keep that in house.”
Matt Hunwick, a scratch the last two games, will replace Nelson.
The Sabres, who have lost four straight games, will also sit winger Zemgus Girgensons. Tage Thompson will move in after being scratched for the 3-0 loss in Colorado.
Housley said goalie Linus Ullmark will start.
Eichel will serve the first game of his two-game suspension.