It's been a couple of days since the Buffalo Sabres lost 2-1 in the shootout vs. the Vegas Golden Knights on Saturday. With Buffalo not playing again until Thursday Sabres coach Phil Housley gave the team both Sunday and Monday off.
The Sabres are back at it today with a couple players of interest at the practice today. Goalie Linus Ullmark was called up from the Rochester Americans this morning and according to reports from the rink is on the ice along with Buffalo's other two goalies--Robin Lehner and Chad Johnson. Back in February Lehner was having upper-body difficulties and the Sabres recalled Ullmark but never dressed him.
Rochester is off until Thursday when they begin playing back-to-back games and a three-game in four night stretch. With Ullmark up the Amerks recalled Jonas Johansson from the Cincinnati Cyclones (ECHL.) The 6'4" 210 lb. Johansson was selected by the Sabres 61st overall in the 2014 NHL Entry Draft and has a 14-11-0 record, a 3.13 goals-against average and a .909 Sv% for Cincinnati this season.
Also on the ice practicing this morning is center Jack Eichel who's been out of the lineup since suffering a high-ankle sprain in Boston on February 10. The original time-frame for Eichel's return was around six weeks and presently it's been 4 1/2. The Sabres have said before that they won't rush their star player back into the lineup and they shouldn't. It's been a lost season for a while and there's no reason for them to want him back in action until both he and they feel the ankle is 100%, but by the sound of it, he seems to be a go.
The Sabres went 6-6-2 since Eichel was sidelined and that includes a perfect 5-0-0 vs. the top three teams in the Atlantic Division. Buffalo plays the Toronto Maple Leafs, presently third in the division, at home on Thursday.
There was a mention on twitter that Eichel could be ready for Thursday's game against the Leafs and these lines via WGR550's Paul Hamilton may indicate that he will play:
The Sabres sent forwards Justin Bailey (who scored their only goal vs. Vegas) and Daniel O'Regan to Rochester on Sunday.
One final note on Eichel from Matthew Bove of WKBW via twitter:
"I have only been at Sabres practice for 20 minutes but I can say that Eichel is participating in every drill and looks like he never left. Maybe he’ll return to the lineup is sooner rather than later"
Here are the standings as of this morning:
26th--Detroit (63 points)
Arizona has one game in hand on Buffalo and they will make that up as they welcome the LA Kings tonight.
With 13 games remaining in the season, the Sabres are in second to last place and if the season were to end now, they'd have a 12.5% chance of winning the lottery to select first-overall in the 2018 NHL Draft.
There is an NHL lottery simulator
web site which has become very popular for Sabres fans the last few years, when you go there you can pick the winners for the first three spots in the draft.
For today this is what I came up with:
1. NY Islanders