Sam Reinhart played three games at center. ©2017, Hickling Images, Olean Times Herald

Sabres move struggling Sam Reinhart

BUFFALO – Sam Reinhart’s run at center lasted three games.

Following two wretched losses in which opponents outscored the Sabres 12-5, coach Phil Housley, as expected, mixed up his lines and defense pairs Wednesday, making changes to every combination.

Most notably, Reinhart, who moved to his natural position in training camp, skated at right wing again, his spot most of the last two years. Housley also yanked from Reinhart off the power play. Reinhart has played on the No. 1 unit most of his career.

Reinhart has looked awful this season, compiling zero points and a minus-6 rating.

“I’m not the only who will say I’m fighting the puck a bit,” Reinhart said Wednesday inside KeyBank Center.

Housley added: “Give him a different look, give our team a different look.”

Right now, most players are struggling.

“You change the lines to try to get the other guys going or maybe there’s some chemistry you’re looking for,” Housley said. “That’s why I made that change today. They could change tomorrow.”

The 0-2-1 Sabres face the San Jose Sharks tonight, the start of a four-game western road trip. The Sabres have historically done well in San Jose, although they often struggle on California trips. They also face the Los Angeles Kings, Anaheim Ducks and the 3-0 Vegas Golden Knights, the NHL’s newest team.

While it’s early, a disastrous trip could bury the Sabres.

Here are Wednesday’s forward lines and defense pairs from left to right:

– Evander Kane, Ryan O’Reilly and Kyle Okposo

– Zemgus Girgensons, Jack Eichel and Jason Pominville

– Benoit Pouliot, Johan Larsson and Reinhart

– Jordan Nolan, Jacob Josefson and Seth Griffith

– Marco Scandella and Rasmus Ristolainen

– Nathan Beaulieu and Matt Tennyson

– Josh Gorges and Jake McCabe

Nolan replaced Matt Moulson. Larsson had been playing the wing. Gorges, a healthy scratch the first three games, moved in for rookie Victor Antipin.

Housley put Eichel, Ristolainen, Pominville, O’Reilly and Kane on the first power play, promoting Pominville and Kane. The second unit consisted of Beaulieu, Tennyson, Griffith, Okposo and Pouliot.

In other news, defenseman Zach Bogosian, out since suffering a lower-body injury in the preseason finale, will likely miss more time.

“We’re trying to be really careful with it,” Housley said. “He was moving in a good direction. We got to be cautious about putting him into a practice and take the right amount of time for Zach.”

Despite getting hurt 13 days ago, Housley said Bogosian is still day-to-day.

Meanwhile, goalie Robin Lehner left Wednesday’s practice early after taking a puck in the face. Lehner initially stayed on the HarborCenter ice. He departed early so he could get stitches and make the team’s flight, Housley said.

One thought on “Sabres move struggling Sam Reinhart”

  1. I wonder if this has anything to do with Eichel’s contract. Eichel has big money and Botteril won’t even negotiate with Sam ’till after the season ends.

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