BUFFALO – In moving gritty newcomer Jordan Greenway up to right wing beside center Tage Thompson and Jeff Skinner, coach Don Granato has given the Sabres’ No. 1 line an intriguing new physical element.
The 6-foot-6, 231-pound Greenway, 26, can wear down opposing defensemen. The Dallas Stars, tonight’s opponent, know him well, having faced him regularly for years when he played for the Minnesota Wild.
“They’re well aware of who Jordan Greenway is, finishing hits and creating space,” Granato said this morning in KeyBank Center. “I think as we move forward, you get a guy like that and you have another team that wants to match up against Thompson and Skinner maybe with different type of defensemen, add another element that they have to deal with.
“So I want to see how that transpires and I think that’s something that we’ll look at and use at various points – sometimes matchups, but overall get acclimated to that because you put a matchup against the Thompson line, that’s a whole other element now you have to deal with.”
Greenway and Thompson know each other well, having been teammates as teenagers at the U.S. National Team Development Program. Granato said Greenway spoke to him about potentially playing with Thompson before he brought it up.
Of course, the familiarity Greenway and Thompson enjoy can help them.
“Just being able to communicate, be comfortable, talking about what you’re going to do out there,” Greenway said. “Yeah, we’ve had a history, so I kind of know what he likes to do, where he likes to get pucks. But playing with a guy like that, guy like Skinny, it’s going to be pretty easy regardless.”
In other news, Granato said he expects defensemen Mattias Samuelsson and Riley Stillman to return tonight after upper-body injuries sidelined them the last two games.
Jacob Bryson and Kale Clague would be pushed out of the lineup.
Winger Jack Quinn, who has been subbing for Alex Tuch on the top line, skated this morning at right wing with center Dylan Cozens and Casey Mittelstadt.
Following a one-game absence, rookie winger JJ Peterka will be returning tonight. To make room, Vinnie Hinostroza will be scratched.
Eric Comrie will be starting in goal, his second nod in the last four games.