Buffalo, NY (WGR 550) - The Buffalo Sabres didn’t have goalie Carter Hutton at practice on Thursday. He left Tuesday’s game against the Philadelphia Flyers after two periods due to a head injury. Hutton’s head went into the post after Brandon Montour pushed Ivan Provorov into his goaltender.
Sabres head coach Ralph Krueger said on Thursday his goalie needs rest.
“Carter is day-to-day, and he won’t be on this trip. We’ll assess him when we get back, because it’s important that he gets some rest.”
Linus Ullmark returned to practice after the death of his father, and had Jonas Johansson at the other end. Dustin Tokarski was called up from Rochester to be on the taxi squad, while Rasmus Asplund was sent back to the taxi squad from the active roster.
With no goals and six assists, Jack Eichel is second in league scoring behind Mark Stone of the Vegas Golden Knights.
Eichel missed the first part of training camp with an upper-body injury, and Krueger said it got him behind.
“He had a pause just prior to training camp and entered camp five days later than everybody else, so we expected him to take longer to get up to speed," Krueger said of his captain. "I’ve been positively surprised with how he dealt with the injury, and I’m expecting in the next few games he’ll have the level that he wants.”
Taylor Hall is tied with Eichel for second in the NHL with six points. The line with Sam Reinhart has had success until the Sabres were shut out in Philadelphia on Tuesday. Eichel doesn’t dwell on not having a goal, because he knows his line is producing.
“I don’t really care who scores. It’s part of my job to score, so I would like to contribute with putting pucks into the back of the net because that’s one of the things that they pay me for," Eichel said. "As a line, we’ve been productive. The other night, we weren’t productive because we were on the ice for two goals against, and that’s on Sam, myself and Taylor.”
Eichel’s line will usually be up against the opponent’s top line.
“We know we’re going to get the other teams best, so we keep it simple and try to outwork teams letting our skill take over after that,” Eichel said.
Eichel thinks he just needs to attack the net and pucks will start going in for him.
Kyle Okposo has missed all four games after getting hurt at the end of the Sabres’ second scrimmage. Okposo did practice for about 40 minutes on Jan. 12, but re-injured himself. The winger said he’s very close to, if not, being at 100%, and he is traveling to Washington for this weekend's series against the Capitals. He said if he doesn’t play Friday, he hopes to be in the lineup Sunday.
Washington’s coach Peter Laviolette said Alex Ovechkin, Evgeny Kuznetsov, Dmitry Orlov and Ilya Samsonov won’t play against Buffalo or in the two games after that because of COVID-19 protocols.
Laviolette said there was a positive test, and numerous reports say it was Samsonov. The four Russian players were all in a small hotel room together without masks which puts them all under quarantine. The team was also fined $100,000 because players are not allowed to gather in hotel rooms.
Hall - Eichel - Reinhart
Olofsson - Staal - Thompson
Rieder - Eakin - Cozens (Okposo)
Skinner - Lazar - Sheahan
Montour - Jokiharju
McCabe - Ristolainen
Dahlin - Miller
Faceoff on Friday is set for 7 p.m. EST with pregame coverage on WGR starting at 6 p.m. EST with Mike Schopp and the Bulldog.