Published by hockeybuzz.com, 11-13-2016
Forwards Nicolas Baptiste and Cole Schneider along with defenseman Justin Falk have been returned to the Rochester Americans this morning according to the Buffalo Sabres. The Sabres are off until Tuesday when they travel to St. Louis to take on the Blues and sending them down affords any or all three an opportunity to get another game in today.
Baptiste had the longest stint of the trio as he joined the team for their two-game, mid-continent road trip beginning in Winnipeg on October 30. With Hudson Fasching hitting the injured list after the Jets game, Baptiste played in eight games and skated roughly 9:00 minutes a night. He scored a goal and finished with a plus-one rating. The speedy 6'1" 206 lb. power forward was called up from Rochester after scoring three goals and two assists in five games for the Amerks.
Injuries up-front in Buffalo also opened the door for Cole Schneider who still leads the Amerks in scoring with 15 points (7+8) in 10 games. Schneider immediately got into the groove with a primary assist (his first NHL point) in his first game against the Ottawa Senators on Wednesday then sat out Friday's game against the New Jersey Devils. Last night against the Devils he skated 10 shifts for Buffalo and registered three shots on goal.
Defenseman Dmitry Kulikov being sidelined with an undisclosed injury after the Ottawa game, so the Sabres called up Falk from Rochester. The 28 yr. old who's entering his ninth pro season had been steady in Rochester and with 171 NHL games on his resume' Buffalo gave him the call. The 6'5" 222 lb. defensive defenseman was on the third pairing for the back-to-back games with the Devils and heads back to the Amerks after a minus-1 rating with the Sabres.
The Amerks are in Springfield, Massachusetts today to take on the Falcons, the new AHL affiliate of the Florida Panthers. The game begins at 3:05 ET making it questionable as to whether any or all of the trio will be playing. Springfield is just 150 miles from Newark, NJ where the Sabres just played and all three are accustomed to three-game weekends so it wouldn't be surprising to see one or three of them in the lineup for Rochester.
Through 12 games Rochester has a 6-6-0 record placing them fourth in the North Division and tenth in the AHL's Eastern Conference. The Amerks have been alternating wins and losses for eight consecutive games and are coming off of a 7-2 loss last night to the Syracuse Crunch (TBL.) As goaltending goes, so goes Rochester. The Amerks have given up 20 goals in their four losses during that stretch while allowing only six goals in their wins. And unlike their parent club, Rochester has managed to score 17 goals in the four wins while scoring 27 goals total over that eight-game stretch (3.38 goals/game.)
In 15 games so far this season, the Buffalo Sabres have scored a total of 29 goals or just less than two goals per game and Buffalo has not scored more than two goals in a game since the October 30th contest against at Winnipeg. During that seven-game stretch goaltending managed to save Buffalo from a total disaster as the Sabres somehow came away with a 2-3-2 record.
Injuries have really hurt as Jack Eichel remains out until next month and Ryan O'Reilly missed two of the last three games after being listed as day-to-day. O'Reilly is tied for the team lead in points with nine (4+5) in 13 games played. Also iced due to injury is Tyler Ennis who will be out for months after sports hernia surgery. Evander Kane, who scored 20 goals in 65 games for Buffalo last season missed 11 games because of broken ribs and has yet to register a point in four games since his return.
And after 15 games, no Buffalo defenseman has scored a goal.
Buffalo's a long way from wielding swords on offense as they've been more like a butter knife lately. Although it's not close to the start of the 2014-15 season when head coach Ted Nolan and his talent-challenged team scored only 19 goals through the first 15 games, this edition of the Sabres has some serious work to do. They'll have a welcomed two days off to ready for the Blues after playing a stretch of seven games in 11 nights. There will be no rest for the weary, however. Beginning in St. Louis Buffalo will play every other night for six games in 10 nights.
Buffalo head coach Dan Bylsma was asked post-game last night if the team needed a break. "We've played a lot of games, a lot of road games (four out of the last seven,)" he told the gathered media, "the schedule has been one after another in terms of every other day or so." But he didn't lay the blame for last night's 4-2 loss at New Jersey on scheduling. You do, however, get the sense the next two days are very welcome. "We'll now get a break and have to come back for the game against St. Louis."