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Sabres scratch banged-up Lehner, will start Nilsson

GLENDALE, Ariz. --  After taking three hard shots to his head and neck Saturday night in Denver, starting goaltender Robin Lehner is not going to dress Sunday night for the Buffalo Sabres  against the Arizona Coyotes.

Anders Nilsson will get the start, something coach Dan Bylsma said was in the works anyway. But Linus Ullmark was called up from Rochester to make the long cross country flight and serve as the backup.

Lehner's biggest hit was a direct shot to the side of the head he absorbed in the second period by Colorado's Joe Colborne, who received a two-minute interference penalty.

"It's more precautionary than anything," Bylsma said. "He got bumped several times at the net, more than just the penalty. There was the one in the first two in the second and the penalty. They were related."

Of course, shots to Lehner's head bring huge red flags after the concussion that felled him in February, 2015, and ended his career in Ottawa. Still, Lehner finished the game and was not pulled by the NHL's concussion spotters in Toronto.

"I'm concerned any time a player gets injured," Bylsma said. "He didn't leave the game after the second period. He was dealing with a sore neck from the couple hits he got and it's more precautionary."

As for a timetable on Lehner's return, potentially for Tuesday's home game against Nashville, Bylsma would only say, "too early to tell."

Lehner has started 12 of Buffalo's last 13 games, including all but one in February. For the season, he's 17-18-6 with a 2.57 goals-against average and .923 save percentage.

 

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