Robin Lehner was ready to fight opponents Wednesday. On Thursday he was battling the ankle injury that forced him to miss the opening three months of the season.
The Sabres practiced without Lehner, who was scheduled to have his ankle evaluated Thursday afternoon. The goaltender suffered a high-ankle sprain on opening night and didn’t return until mid-January.
“Having the high-ankle sprain, it’s an injury that probably doesn’t leave you for a good two and a half months,” coach Dan Bylsma said in HarborCenter. “Has he felt it ever since he’s come back and to this point? He has. It’s just the nature of the injury and dealing with it.
"A couple times he’s jammed it into the post and felt it a little more. It kind of happened a week ago and a little bit last night in the game. We’ll see.”
Buffalo will wait for Lehner’s diagnosis before deciding whether to recall a goalie from Rochester. The Sabres host Ottawa on Friday and visit Toronto on Saturday.
Defenseman Carlo Colaiacovo also missed practice with a lower-body injury.
“Both guys had maybe slightly more than a maintenance day,” Bylsma said. “Both guys are getting evaluated today, and we’ll see what it means for tomorrow and going forward.”
The Sabres still practiced with two netminders as goalie coach Andrew Allen put on the equipment and skated to the net opposite Chad Johnson. Allen played for the University of Vermont and for several minor-league teams.
“I said to him if he hadn’t taken his helmet off, he might’ve passed for Robin,” Bylsma said. “We’re fortunate that we have a guy that can go in there and has got some experience. He’s a little bit older now. Not a pseudo replacement but better than a shooter tutor.”