SAN JOSE — Patrik Berglund started the season as the Buffalo Sabres' No. 2 center. Seven games into the schedule, he had a seat in the press box.
The Sabres made Berglund a healthy scratch for Thursday night's game against the San Jose Sharks after the veteran badly dropped coverage on Vegas' first goal Tuesday night and continued to go without a goal on the season.
Coach Phil Housley had indicated after practice here Wednesday that Berglund was dealing with some bumps and bruises but Berglund worked out fully Thursday morning with fellow scratches Johan Larsson and Casey Nelson as the rest of the team stayed off the ice and simply met in SAP Center.
Housley did not mention injuries Thursday. It's clear that Berglund was paying the price on his futile attempt to cover Jonathan Marchessault on the power-play goal with 1:01 left in the first period that opened the Golden Knights' 4-1 win over the Sabres.
"I don't know if it's disturbing. There's other things that led up to the decision," Housley said. "We have extra players. We have four games in six nights. We're just looking at it on a game-by-game, day-by-day basis. We had to make a decision. We lost a hockey game, so Patrik is coming out and Remi Elie is getting in."
Elie played his third game with the Sabres since being acquired from waivers on Dallas just before the season began. He was at left wing on the third line with Tage Thompson on the right side. With Berglund out, Vladimir Sobotka moved from wing to center.
Acquired July 1 in the Ryan O'Reilly trade, Berglund has three more years remaining on a contract that carries a cap hit of $3.85 million.
The 30-year-old has just one assist and only three shots on goal thus far while averaging 14 minutes, 25 seconds per game. He's a three-time 20-goal scorer with St. Louis and had 17 goals in 57 games for the Blues last season.
The Sabres entered Thursday's game with just 12 goals in their first six games — including only six in 5-on-5 play — but Berglund is far from the only player stuck at zero. Other notable names looking for their first goal of the season include Kyle Okposo, Sam Reinhart, Casey Mittelstadt, Rasmus Ristolainen, Evan Rodrigues and Tage Thompson.
The Sabres headed to Los Angeles immediately after the game and will practice there Friday before meeting the Kings Saturday afternoon. It's a 3:30 p.m. Eastern start, a 12:30 Pacific start to accommodate LeBron James' home opener with the Lakers later in the evening. The trip concludes Sunday in Anaheim.
San Jose assistant Dave Barr was on Dan Bylsma's staff with the Sabres in 2015-16. … When Jack Eichel played for Team North America in the 2016 World Cup of Hockey, Sharks coach Peter DeBoer was one of the club's assistants. … San Jose defenseman Marc-Edouard Vlasic played in his 900th NHL game. Sharks center Joe Thornton (knee infection) missed his fifth straight game. He's currently tied with Housley for 20th on the NHL's all-time games played list (1,495).