TORONTO -- Coach Dan Bylsma said the Sabres planned all along to put the forward lines into the salt shaker for the third preseason game, and that comes tonight at 7:30 in Air Canada Centre against the Toronto Maple Leafs. It means quite a bit of a different look at tonight's combinations (listing LW-C-RW):
"You look for different combinations, people in different spots," said Bylsma, who added that most of tonight's plan was formulated prior to the beginning of camp. "You have to prepare for injuries and so forth. Different looks. The next two games will be like that."
Jack Eichel is among the group not playing tonight who should be on the ice Saturday in Ottawa. Tonight's game is our first look at Sam Reinhart at wing, a position he could be asked to play to make this club out of camp.
"Wherever I'm put and asked to play to be a part of this team, I'm willing to do that," Reinhart said. "I'm fully comfortable with it and excited for the challenge."
Bylsma said Robin Lehner will play the first two periods in goal with Nathan Lieuwen getting the third. Veterans on defense include Cody Franson, Mike Weber and Mark Pysyk. Joining Jake McCabe on a pairing will be second-round pick Brendan Guhle, the clear surprise of camp as the only player to appear in all three games.
Bylsma said playing Guhle tonight was "an addition to the plan." Part of it is certainly the injuries to Rasmus Ristolainen and Zach Bogosian. Part of it is the kid played very well Monday in Minnesota and battled through Wednesday's home game against Ottawa.
"The Buffalo Sabres aren't the only people saying right now, 'That's a late second-round pick' and being surprised about it," Bylsma said of the 18-year-old Guhle, taken 51st overall. "His skating and ability has been shown pretty well against NHL players. You see him in the summer time and in rookie development, then you see him against NHL competition and I'm watching in Minnesota and he spent a lot of time against Zach Parise in that game dealing with one of the strongest toughest players down low."
Guhle, who was fully expecting to play a game tonight for the WHL's Prince Albert Raiders, said he has watched numerous games on television from the ACC but had never been in the building until the morning skate.
"It's pretty crazy. I'm just trying to go one game at a time and ride the wave a little playing the best I can at this level," he said. "I think I'm playing fairly well. We'll see how it keeps going here. You see this place on TV a lot but I've never been in here so I'm really looking forward to it."
The Mike Babcock-led Leafs did not skate in the ACC this morning, opting to work out in their suburban practice facility. Their lineup will include veterans like Dion Phaneuf, Joffrey Lupul, Nazem Kadri, Morgan Reilly, Jake Gardiner, P.A. Parenteau and newly acquired Michael Grabner. Also slated to play is winger Mitch Marner, the No. 4 overall pick in the June draft. Jonathan Bernier will be in goal.