With Matt Moulson's goal-less streak approaching two months, Sabres coach Dan Bylsma finally had no choice and made the veteran winger a healthy scratch for Wednesday's 5-2 loss in Washington. It's conceivable Moulson could have had to wait his turn to get back into the lineup, but Tyler Ennis was injured in the game so Moulson returns tonight against the New York Islanders.
(Reminder: The annual Tux and Pucks game in First Niagara Center is a 6:05 start).
Moulson has not scored in 24 games, since tallying in the Sabres' 2-1 win Nov. 1 over the Islanders in Barclays Center. He's got just four goals and eight assists in 36 games overall this season.
"I think I have to be better. I think that's it," Moulson said prior to tonight games. "I have to be better out there, win more battles and make plays. Maybe sometimes it allows you to get your mind right and get back to what makes you successful."
Bylsma said Moulson will play on a line with Evander Kane and Johan Larsson. Moulson had been limited to fourth-line duty and had not played more than 11 minutes in any of the previous three games.
"He's going to get an opportunity to get back in there, be on a good line," Bylsma said. "He hasn't been in that situation, done that for us in the last while and that's a disappointing thing for Matt. It wasn't something I take a lot of pride in, but I think it was somewhat necessary for Matt to get back to where he needs to be to be effective for our team."
Bylsma had no update on Ennis, who was trucked along the boards by Washington star Alex Ovechkin. The Sabres winger pretty much put himself in peril by turning into the onrushing Caps star.
"It's a hard hit by Ovechkin," Bylsma said. "I don't have any issue with the hit other than Tyler turns, tries to get away from it and kind of gets whiplashed on to the ice."
Linus Ullmark will be in goal for the Sabres' tonight while Thomas Greiss goes for the Islanders as start Jaroslav Halak remains out with a lower-body injury.