One of the NHL’s leading scorers through the first week is set to miss some time.
According to head coach Lindy Ruff, Buffalo Sabres forward Thomas Vanek will not play this afternoon when his team takes on the win-less Washington Capitals at 3pm in D.C.. Vanek suffered a muscle strain in Buffalo’s 3-1 loss to Carolina on Friday when he fell and went hard into the end boards.
Ruff said after the game on Friday that Vanek would have Saturday off of practice, and they would reevaluate Sunday morning whether or not he could play. After trying to skate in the morning, the decision was made to keep him out of the lineup.
“He’s day to day really. He skated this morning, but isn’t quite there,” said Ruff to WGR550′s Paul Hamilton.
Vanek is one of the NHL’s leading scorers with 9 points (3 + 6) in four games; he is the fastest player to nine points in Sabres history. He has been on the ice for 11 of Buffalo’s 12 goals on the season. In fact, the Sabres top line of Vanek, Cody Hodgson, and Jason Pominville have combined for 20 of the team’s 31 points this year.
With no Vanek, the lineup will be changed quite a bit to try and find an offensive spark for a team that managed just one goal on 41 shots on Friday night.
Rookie Marcus Foligno took Vanek’s spot on the top line in practice, but Ruff told the media that that may not necessarily be the line we see against the Capitals. Due to the injury, Matt Ellis, who has been a scratch the past two games, will return to the lineup.
Buffalo faces a Washington team that is the only team without a win in the NHL. In fact, they have just one point which is worst in the league.
The puck drops at 3pm EST and will be aired on the NHL Network in the U.S.