OTTAWA -- Red-hot winger Evander Kane missed Tuesday night's game against the Ottawa Senators with the flu, leaving the Buffalo Sabres without one of the NHL's hottest goal scorers for its game against a division rival they have dominated this season.
Kane has 18 goals and 28 points in 45 games this season -- but has scored all of his goals in the 33 games since Dec. 3. He's fourth overall in goals in the NHL in that span and is the leader in even-strength goals with 17.
Kane missed 11 games earlier this season after suffering four broken ribs during a crash into the end boards in KeyBank Center during the Oct. 13 season opener against Montreal.
Kane's spot on the team's No. 2 forward line along with Jack Eichel and Sam Reinhart was taken by Matt Moulson, who entered the contest with just two goals in his last 16 games. Moulson has played less than eight minutes in each of the last four games.
The Sabres entered Tuesday 3-0-1 against Ottawa this season, and Kane had just one assist while playing three of the four games.
Nic Deslauriers, a healthy scratch the last two games, was back in the lineup in Moulson's spot on the fourth line with Derek Grant and Tyler Ennis.
The Sabres got an addition on defense as Zach Bogosian came back into the lineup after sitting out six games with a rib injury. Taylor Fedun was a healthy scratch.
Bogosian was paired with Justin Falk. Rasmus Ristolainen stayed with Jake McCabe on the top pair while Josh Gorges was paired with Dmitry Kulikov.
The Buffalo defense entered the game with just 10 goals for the season, the lowest total in the league. Five NHL defensemen have more on their own, led by the 24 scored by San Jose star Brent Burns.
Longtime Senators pest Chris Neil returned to the lineup after sitting out five of the last seven games as a healthy scratch.
"It's not the first guy this has happened to and I'm not the last," said Neil, 37. "It's part of the game. I've got no control over it. I just have to work hard in practice, work hard in the gym and make the best of it."
Neil entered the game leading the Senators against Buffalo in games (73), assists (16) and penalty minutes (167). He was tied with defenseman Erik Karlsson for the most points with 25. Neil is in his 15th NHL season and played his 1,000th career game earlier this season. He's third all-time for the Senators at 1,021.