COLUMBUS, Ohio – Marcus Foligno had a rough morning. The trip to the dentist probably won’t be any better.
A teammate’s skate struck the Sabres forward in the mouth during Friday’s morning skate, leaving blood and a tooth on the ice in Nationwide Arena. Foligno is still expected to face the Columbus Blue Jackets on Friday night.
“Didn’t look all that pretty coming off the ice,” coach Dan Bylsma said. “A little nicked up through the lip and had some dental work.”
The Sabres traveled to Columbus with only 12 forwards after sending Dan Catenacci back to Rochester, so they’ll need Foligno. Ryan O’Reilly and Zemgus Girgensons, who missed Thursday’s practice because of illness and ailments, returned Friday.
“I had a couple days to regroup, but I feel great now,” said O’Reilly, who hopes the Sabres can continue the effort shown during Tuesday’s 2-1 shootout loss in Ottawa. “We’ve been playing with a sense of urgency. Last game we had a consistent 60 minutes. There were times we were caught on our heels, but we stuck together.”
O’Reilly will center right wing Sam Reinhart and left wing Evander Kane, who is back from a one-game disciplinary benching.
“In the last four or five games that line has been together, the speed of Evander has been a bonus for that line,” Bylsma said. “It’s opened up the ice a bit for Ryan and Reinhart.”
Robin Lehner will start in goal for the Sabres, while defensemen Mike Weber and Carlo Colaiacovo are expected to be the healthy scratches.
The Sabres (23-28-7) have the same record as the Blue Jackets.
“They’re a team that probably has the highest volume of forecheck that we’re going to see,” Bylsma said. “They have a strong group of forechecking, and that’s something maybe a little different than we’ve seen from other teams.”
The Sabres don’t see much of Columbus, but Bylsma visited often as coach of the Pittsburgh Penguins.
“This is a building where we seemed to play a lot of Saturday games and Sunday games. There always were a lot of Pittsburgh jerseys and fans here in town walking the streets on those days,” Bylsma said. “The playoff series a couple years ago, this building was extremely loud, not to mention the cannon going off. In particular the game where we gave up a late goal and they won in overtime, this building was as loud as probably any other building I’ve ever played in. It was a pretty rocking place.”