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Forwards uncertain for Sabres' game in Philly; Eichel misses practice with maintenance day

The Sabres had a quick practice today in HarborCenter before heading to Philadelphia for Thursday night's game against the Flyers, and three of their regular forwards were missing

Jack Eichel was absent from practice for the first time this year due to what coach Dan Bylsma said was a "maintenance day" but Bylsma said he expects Eichel, who took a shot to the leg during the third period of Tuesday's 7-4 loss to Florida, to be able to play against the Flyers.

"That's part of it," Bylsma said when asked about the shot. "He's just got a couple bumps and bruises. The shot block he seems to be fine from."

Zemgus Girgensons and Johan Larsson were still being examined and Bylsma had no concrete update. He said he was hoping at least one of them would be able to play but indicated the team would call up a forward from Rochester, with three games coming in the next four days. When Bylsma indicates a callup is possible, it usually happens.

Defenseman Jake McCabe, meanwhile, played forward for the first time since  youth hockey in Tuesday's game and gave a solid accounting of himself.  McCabe played 9:34, had three shots on goals, three hits and an even rating in a game where nine of his teammates were minus-2 or worse.

"It was nice to be on the forecheck and hit a defenseman, like I go back and get hit with their forecheckers," said a smiling McCabe.

"I liked the way he skated forward, forechecked a couple times, went out to the point and dumped a defenseman on his butt," Bylsma said. "He asked today what I wanted him to play and I said, 'You're a defenseman, Jake.'


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