BUFFALO – The Sabres are changing up their lineup for this afternoon’s tilt against the Detroit Red Wings, sitting three players interim coach Ted Nolan dressed last game.
Defenseman Mark Pysyk, a surprise scratch for Thursday’s 4-1 loss in Philadelphia, will return. Nolan sat the rookie, one of the Sabres’ few bright spots this season, so he could evaluate other players.
“We only have a limited amount of time to see everybody, and I mentioned to him it wasn’t because he was playing poorly,” Nolan said this afternoon inside the First Niagara Center. “I just wanted to see other people in different positions.”
Defenseman Alexander Sulzer, a recent recall, will play. Jamie McBain and Mike Weber will sit.
Winger Corey Tropp will replace John Scott on the fourth line beside Brian Flynn, who’s switching to center, and Marcus Foligno.
Nolan wants to see Foligno, who’s ice time has been dipping, showcase a more physical style.
“We got to see the power forward come out of him,” Nolan said. “The last couple games he was OK. (The) kids coming in, I tell them, ‘You can’t be OK. You got to be better than OK.’ We’ll see a better effort from Marcus today.”
He added: “We got to get him being a little bit more physical, go to the net.”
Nolan said Saturday’s practice “was almost the first day we almost started getting what we want to do here. I felt good yesterday.”
The Sabres will get their second glimpse of Daniel Alfredsson, the former Ottawa legend, with the Red Wings. The 40-year-old winger owns the Sabres, having scored 42 goals and 84 points in 90 games against the club. He bolted the Senators in July after 17 seasons.
A groin injury sidelined Alfredsson the last five games.
The Wings will play without star center Pavel Datsyuk, who’s out with a possible concussion. Jonas Gustavsson will start in goal.