Brendan Guhle will make his NHL debut Saturday. It is a sign the Sabres’ defense is beyond thin.
Here are Five Things to Know as Buffalo hosts Boston in a 1 p.m. matinee.
1. Guhle gets to show his skating.
With Josh Gorges out with a foot injury, the Sabres have recalled the 19-year-old Guhle from juniors. They drafted him in the second round of the 2015 NHL Draft, and he has impressed the organization during his two training camps.
“Two training camps ago, we saw great skating ability,” coach Dan Bylsma said Saturday morning in KeyBank Center. “This year, I thought he showed the skating ability but also showed an increased battle level and increased intensity playing defense. It’s just maturation for him in his game.”
Guhle will be partnered with Cody Franson.
“We felt like we needed to add some speed on the back end, some skating ability, and Brendan is going to provide that,” Bylsma said.
2. Gorges may not be back soon.
Bylsma said he’d provide further detail following the game, but he noted the defenseman will be out a “little bit.” Gorges suffered a foot injury blocking a shot Thursday against the New York Rangers. He has been one of the prime penalty-killers.
3. There’s no immediate help for the blue line.
In addition to Gorges, the Sabres will again be without defensemen Dmitry Kulikov (back) and Zach Bogosian (sprained knee).
“You take three defensemen out of your lineup, you get thin,” Bylsma said. “I think we all knew we were not deep and a little bit thin at the start of the season as an organization. Getting three injuries to Kulikov, Bogosian and Gorges just kind of accents that position.
“Kulikov has now skated two days with some physicality and now been skating for seven days. Hopefully, that means we’ll see him in practice soon – in the next week, hopefully.
“Zach is probably still in the 10-day to two-week time frame.”
The injuries extend to Rochester. Casey Nelson, who started the season with Buffalo, is out with a neck/shoulder ailment. He’s day-to-day. Forward prospect Hudson Fasching has a groin injury and may start skating next week.
4. Robin Lehner will start for the Sabres.
Lehner, who missed the last five periods with a hip injury, will return to the crease. He is 3-7-3 with a .923 save percentage in 14 appearances against the Bruins.
He might get tested often. The Bruins have outshot three opponents by 25 shots this season, something no other NHL team has done once. They had a 46-21 advantage over Colorado, a 38-12 domination of Winnipeg and a 47-21 lead over Philadelphia on Tuesday.
5. Jack Eichel is getting help.
The healthy center has been the key to the past two games, scoring three times and adding an assist. He’s not alone on the score sheet. Kyle Okposo and Sam Reinhart have three-game point streaks. In the past five games, they’ve each recorded two goals and six points.
Rasmus Ristolainen has three assists in the past two games.