When one player returns to the lineup, another seems to exit. Thus has been the start of the season for the Buffalo Sabres who see forward Evander Kane return to the lineup but will be missing Tyler Ennis and possibly Ryan O'Reilly when they host the Ottawa Senators at 7:30 tonight in KeyBank Center.
Five things to know about tonight's game:
1. Evander Kane is back. The forward went down in the first game of the season, crashing in the boards and cracking ribs on Oct. 16. He missed 11 games and returns to the lineup tonight.
"The doctor’s cleared me so for me I’m on pace for when I thought I would be back and looking forward to playing tonight," Kane said after participating in the team's morning skate. "It’s not feeling pretty good but it's well enough where I can play and contribute. I feel I can be a difference-maker on the team. I’m looking forward to proving that."
2. Tyler Ennis is out. And maybe so is Ryan O'Reilly. After playing only 7 minutes and 33 seconds in the team's 4-0 loss at Boston on Monday, Ennis did not take morning skate and Sabres head coach Dan Bylsma said the forward would not play Wednesday.
"He is dealing with an injury and will not be playing for us tonight," Bylsma said. "It’s a mid-body injury. It’s attached to all, upper and lower. It’s really still in the evaluation on how exactly what it is."
Bylsma said O'Reilly will be a game-time decision.
"He's questionable tonight. I'll leave it at that," Bylsma said.
3. Lehner will start in goal. Robin Lehner gets the start in net. He is 2-0-1 in four appearances against Ottawa, his former team, with a .953 save percentage and a 1.41 goals against average.
4. Games against Ottawa are tight. The teams met in Ottawa on Nov. 5 with the Sabres winning by a 2-1 margin. It was the 14th time in the last 19 meetings that the matchup has been decided by a single goal. Six of those games were decided in an overtime or shootout.
5. Ottawa is on a two-game losing skid. The Senators come into Wednesday's game having lost their last two -- against Buffalo in Ottawa on Saturday followed by a 3-1 loss to the Predators in Nashville on Tuesday.