BUFFALO – Sabres coach Dan Bylsma has no explanation for goalie Anders Nilsson’s wild home and road splits.
Consider the statistics Nilsson, who will start tonight against the Detroit Red Wings, has accumulated in 17 games: on the road, he’s just 2-5-3 with a 3.11 goals-against average and a .905 save percentage in nine outings. At KeyBank Center, however, he’s 5-1-1 with a 1.84 and a .947 in seven contests.
“They can be misleading and they can be guiding sometimes when you have your starts and when you don’t have your starts and how you feel about it,” Bylsma said this morning of the numbers. “I don’t know if they’re legitimate, the lighting at home versus the lightning on the road.”
Nilsson just battled the flu for two days, so the Sabres will send goalie Linus Ullmark, who they recalled from the Rochester Americans on Thursday, back to the AHL, Bylsma said. The Sabres also play Saturday in Montreal.
Bylsma said Nilsson starting feeling ill following Tuesday’s 4-3 loss in Toronto. No. 1 goalie Robin Lehner was also sick recently.
In other news, winger Tyler Ennis will play tonight after resting his groin Tuesday. Ennis returned from a 30-game absence Monday afternoon, scoring 19 seconds into the 4-1 win against Dallas. Ennis will be back on the left beside center Ryan O’Reilly and Kyle Okposo, Bylsma said.
To make room for Ennis, winger Nick Deslauriers will be scratched for the second time in three games.
Some other notes:
– The Sabres, who have only 43 points, fell back into last place in the Eastern Conference on Thursday night.
– Tonight will be winger Matt Moulson’s 600th NHL game.
“I don’t think I even realized it until my wife told me the other day,” Moulson said.
While Moulson has three 30-goal seasons and 171 goals in his career, including nine this season, his road to the NHL was difficult.
Pittsburgh drafted him in the ninth round in 2003 but never signed him. After a strong AHL season in Los Angeles’ organization, the Cornell product finally cracked the NHL on Nov. 2, 2007 with the Kings.
When Manchester coach Mark Morris wanted to talk to Moulson a day earlier, his birthday, he thought he was in trouble. But Morris informed him he had earned his first promotion.
“I don’t think I’ve ever smiled so much in hockey as that day,” Moulson said.
– Former Sabres winger Thomas Vanek, now the Red Wings’ leading scorer, has 12 goals and 31 points in 34 games. The Austrian has five goals and 10 points in the last seven contests.