TORONTO – For the first time, Jack Eichel will miss an NHL game.
The Sabres rookie came down with the flu after arriving in Toronto and will sit out Saturday night’s game against the Maple Leafs.
“It didn’t come on until early morning this morning,” said coach Dan Bylsma, who added there had been hope Eichel could play through the illness. “He was feeling OK. He’s having too many actions, but he was feeling OK. This afternoon he took a turn for the flu worse.”
The Sabres have recalled Dan Catenacci to fill out their lineup. Carlo Colaiacovo is back on defense after missing one game with a lower-body injury.
Goaltender Chad Johnson will start for the second straight night. He has won his last five decisions.
Robin Lehner remains out with an ankle injury and is scheduled to rest all weekend. Bylsma was asked if surgery is likely for Lehner regardless of how well the rest goes.
“That’s not necessarily the case for Robin at all,” Bylsma said. “Just rest and rehab right now and strengthening. There will be an evaluation a little later in the week next week.”
The Sabres are 2-0-1 in their last three games. Bylsma has been breaking up the season in three-game segments, and the meeting with Toronto is the close of the latest series.
“We’re just looking at the three games and looking at 66 percent of your points,” Bylsma said in Air Canada Centre. “This is the third game for us tonight. We have three points in this segment. We need to get one more point to get to the 66 percent of those points. Would be disappointed if we didn’t get there, didn’t get the point, didn’t get the win tonight.”