The Buffalo Sabres had a day off on Saturday before getting together for practice on Sunday.
Sam Reinhart missed practice after leaving the ice briefly during Friday’s game.
“Sam is day-to-day with a lower-body injury that appears to be manageable, so he’ll come with us on the trip and we’ll make that final decision at the pregame skate," said head coach Ralph Krueger after practice.
The Sabres left for Philadelphia right after practice on Sunday. Kyle Okposo also missed practice, and he was not on that plane.
“Kyle will stay here and rehab," Krueger said. "He’ll be hitting the ice tomorrow and we hope to have him back for Washington.”
With Reinhart missing, Casey Mittelstadt came up from the taxi squad and filled in on right wing with Jack Eichel and Taylor Hall.
Dylan Cozens found himself on a new line, as he was on right wing with Eric Staal and Victor Olofsson. Cozens sits next to Staal in the locker room, but he said he doesn’t say too much because he doesn’t want to bother him.
“I don’t ask him too many questions because I don’t really want to bug him too much," Cozens said. "He’s a guy that’s been in the league a long time, he knows a lot, he’s won a Stanley Cup and he knows what it takes. There’s a lot of things I can learn from him, and he’s always helping me out and giving me advice.”
Staal seems to enjoy working with younger players. He said,
“For me, I sat beside Ron Francis, and then after that it was Rod Brind’Amour," Staal said. "I had two pretty good mentors to follow, and if there are any little questions or any little things I can do for Dylan, I’m always willing to talk.”
Tage Thompson was moved to the right wing on Sunday with Cody Eakin and Tobias Rieder.
The final line didn’t change, with Curtis Lazar centering Jeff Skinner and Riley Sheahan.
Krueger always enjoys talking about the Buffalo Bills when they have success. The head coach seems to be enjoying the ride the Bills are on just as much as the fans are.
“I live in Elmwood Village, and there were some horns until the middle of the night, so I’m happy for the people of Buffalo," Krueger said. "There was a lot of sound and people running around with flags in the village so that buzz was terrific. We’re all big Bills fans, and we couldn’t be more pleased for Kim and Terry [Pegula] and the whole organization for the opportunity that lies ahead.”
Krueger said there are also things the players can learn from the Bills run.
“It’s a good learner for us too, to see the passion of the Buffalo sports fan. I mean, it was fantastic, and on the pick-six, the whole city just exploded.”
The Sabres have only played two games, but are already five points behind the Washington Capitals, who lost in a shootout to the Pittsburgh Penguins on Sunday afternoon.
Buffalo will play the Philadelphia Flyers on Monday and Tuesday, before traveling to Washington for games Friday and Sunday.
Thanks to the AFC Championship Game, which includes the Bills, being scheduled for 6:40 p.m. EST, the NHL announced on Sunday that the time for Sunday’s game between the Sabres and Capitals has been moved from 7 p.m. EST to 3 p.m. EST.