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Bylsma doles out praise on Sabres' day of rest

Marcus Foligno certainly earned a day of recovery. He wasn’t alone.

Only a handful of Sabres took the ice Sunday, including Ryan O’Reilly as he tries to come back from his oblique injury. The center is still day-to-day and questionable for Monday’s game against Calgary in KeyBank Center.

Foligno should be OK after going to the dressing room twice during Saturday’s 2-1 victory over Pittsburgh. The left winger was cross-checked into the boards during the second period and blocked a shot at the end of regulation.

“Marcus earned his paycheck yesterday in a lot of ways,” coach Dan Bylsma said Sunday. “Taking the hit, but he also had two huge blocked shots. He had seven hits in the game. He was a big factor.

“There’s a number of bumps and bruises as we go along here that we’ve been dealing with. They’ve been playing, but they’ve got bumps and bruises. Marcus is on that list after last night’s game. He left the ice for the concussion protocol, which was not an issue at all for him. He came back in the game. He got another bruise from the blocked shot, but it was more that it struck him in the side of the knee and hit his nerve. It was more kind of a dead feeling than anything else, but he came back.”

The Sabres came back to the victory column after a six-game winless skid. Anders Nilsson and Cal O’Reilly earned accolades Saturday night. Bylsma took time Sunday to praise Sam Reinhart, Rasmus Ristolainen and Josh Gorges. All three helped hold the Penguins, Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin to no goals at even strength.

“I thought Sam Reinhart, especially in the third period, dug in hard and battled against the Crosby line on numerous occasions in the third,” Bylsma said. “I thought that was the hardest and the best battle I’ve seen out of Sam, and he did it against one of the best players in the game.

“Risto and Georgie had to check two lines last game with the Malkin line and the Crosby line. Thirty minutes for Risto in the game. Georgie, he exchanged a few words with Crosby throughout the game and played him tough.”

One area where Bylsma would not elaborate was which goalie will start Monday. Nilsson had a 46-save effort against the Pens. Robin Lehner practiced Sunday.

“I’ll let you know tomorrow who the starting goaltender is for tomorrow night’s game against Calgary,” Bylsma said.

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