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Injured Ennis may only miss one game

Tyler Ennis won’t play for the Buffalo Sabres Saturday in Colorado but he will be making the team’s road trip, and his injury is not considered serious.

The team’s leading scorer had a goal and an assist in Thursday’s 4-3 overtime loss to Arizona but missed the third-period with a lower-body injury. Coach Ted Nolan said Ennis will miss the game against the Avalanche but could play in Monday’s rematch against the Coyotes.

“We’ll make double sure he’s OK, but he’s a lot better,” Nolan said Friday.

Ennis leads the Sabres with 19 goals and 42 points. He has four points in the last four games.

“A lot of people lose sight he’s still young in his career,” said captain Brian Gionta. “He’s going to develop and grow into that. You look at the way he plays, he’s pretty slick. He darts in and out with the puck. It’s amazing what he can do at times with that. He’s tough to defend.

“You get more confident as you grow and play more games in the league to find what works and what doesn’t. He continues to find that edge where he’s continually challenging D-men to be at their best every night.”

Tim Schaller returned to practice Friday after being recalled from Rochester and will play Saturday. Gionta moved up to the top line in the third period Thursday with Johan Larsson and Matt Moulson and is likely to play there against the Avs.

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Defenseman Nikita Zadorov played just 9 minutes, 46 seconds in Thursday’s game, his lowest ice-time total since his season debut Oct. 23 in Los Angeles. Nolan wouldn’t commit to it ,but it sounds like Zadorov will be a healthy scratch Saturday.

“It was maybe 10 minutes too much, but he had 10 minutes,” Nolan said. “We’ll deal with that.”

Asked if Zadorov could use some time in the AHL next year, when he becomes eligible to go to Rochester, Nolan said cryptically, “It won’t hurt.”

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Nolan said Anders Lindback will start Saturday’s game in goal but Matt Hackett is having no issues after Thursday’s game. The Sabres continue to nurse Hackett’s surgically repaired knee and he took a hard hit to his neck and shoulder late in regulation.

Meanwhile, goaltender Chad Johnson skated before Friday’s workout and said he hasn’t ruled out the possibility of returning for a game or two prior to the end of the season.

Johnson, acquired from the New York Islanders at the trade deadline for Michal Neuvirth, suffered a right ankle injury during the morning skate March 6 in Ottawa and has yet to make his Buffalo debut.

“It was frustrating,” Johnson said. “I wanted to come here, play in games, make a good impression and help this team win games. It was the last shot, I felt a pop in my ankle and I knew it wasn’t good.”

email: mharrington@buffnews.com

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