BUFFALO – Sabres goalie Robin Lehner and defenseman Mark Pysyk will begin AHL rehab assignments with the Rochester Americans later this week, coach Dan Bylsma said this morning.
The Amerks play three games in three days this weekend, so Lehner might start two of the three. Bylsma also said he would be with the team a week from Wednesday.
Lehner hasn’t played since suffering a high right ankle sprain Oct. 8, opening night. Pysyk, meanwhile, has missed 21 games. The two will formally be assigned in the coming days.
In other news, Sabres goalie Linus Ullmark will start tonight against the upstart Florida Panthers, who have won nine straight games and lead the Atlantic Division.
“That’ll be a nice mark for them to keep, nine in a row,” Bylsma, whose Sabres have lost four straight games, joked inside the First Niagara Center.
The Sabres will make one lineup change on defense, inserting Carlo Colaiacovo, who has sat out 11 straight contests, for Mike Weber. Colaiacovo hasn’t played since Dec. 7.
“Extremely difficult, obviously,” Colaiacovo said about being scratched. “It’s not always fun when you’re watching. You play the game to play the games and be a competitor. Unfortunately, it wasn’t the case lately. You try to do that keep yourself sharp, practice good habits for when the opportunity comes back.”
Colaiacovo said he has spoken to Bylsma “quite a bit” recently.
“We’ve expressed different opinions,” Colaiacovo said. “It is what it is. He’s the coach. I respect that. You don’t always have to be happy with the decisions he makes. … I respect Dan. I respect the process. For me, I’m just really happy that’s all behind me now.”
Bylsma’s glad Colaiacovo was passionate about wanting to play.
“I don’t expect a player to be all that happy about sitting out,” Bylsma said. “I know he’s been wanting to get back in, and pretty desperately. When I told him yesterday he’d be playing this game, he was pretty fired up about that opportunity.”
In other lineup news, Tim Schaller, who was summoned Monday to replace injured winger Nick Deslauriers, will center the fourth line tonight beside Marcus Foligno and David Legwand.
Here are the Sabres’ other three lines from left to right:
– Evander Kane, Ryan O’Reilly, Sam Reinhart
– Zemgus Girgensons, Jack Eichel, Jamie McGinn
– Matt Moulson, Johan Larsson, Brian Gionta