Tyler Ennis is probably out. It remains to be seen whether Ville Leino and Jordan Leopold will be in.
Ennis, who needed stitches Sunday night after getting hit headfirst into the boards, skipped the Buffalo Sabres’ practice Monday. Interim coach Ron Rolston said Ennis does not have a concussion and is day-to-day.
“He’s a little dinged up,” Rolston said.
Ennis was hit from behind by Philadelphia’s Wayne Simmonds after stopping along the boards while carrying the puck. Though the Sabres felt it was boarding, there was no penalty.
“It was a tough play,” Rolston said. “I thought his back was turned, but it’s not the way they saw it. It’s what they see and what they think they see. They made the call on it.”
Rolston will need to make the call on Leino and Leopold. Both say they are ready to play.
Leino has been sidelined all season with a hip injury. He practiced as part of a four-man forward line with Jochen Hecht and Ennis’ wingers, Steve Ott and Nathan Gerbe.
“I feel really good, so we’ll see,” said Leino, who had hoped to debut in Philadelphia. “It would have been good extra momentum to play against an old team and a fun rink to play, but we’re looking at this day now.”
The Sabres activated Leopold from injured reserve before facing the Flyers, but Rolston decided to keep the defenseman on the sidelines for the 10th straight game.
“I think they were waiting to see what the lineup was going to be, if a couple other guys were healthy or not,” Leopold said. “Whatever. It was another day of rest for the injury, so I’ll take it. I’m ready when called upon.”
Kevin Porter and Brian Flynn may have traveled from the minor leagues to the Sabres’ power play. The forwards received extensive work with the second unit during practice, joining right wing Drew Stafford and defensemen Tyler Myers and Leopold.
The first group featured Cody Hodgson, Thomas Vanek and Steve Ott up front, with Jason Pominville and Christian Ehrhoff at the point.
“We had some adjustments,” Rolston said of the league’s last-place unit. “It’s a work in progress.”
While Stafford may get special teams minutes, it appears he’s still stuck in a fourth-line role. The right winger, who is in the second season of a four-year, $16 million contract, practiced alongside rookie center Mikhail Grigorenko and enforcer John Scott.
“He’s working on it,” Rolston said of Stafford returning to a scoring line. “We need him to be there, especially with his body, big body, and his ability. He’s working on it, and he understands what he has to do to be back in that position.
“But we want to make sure guys are earning those opportunities.”
Rolston scratched Grigorenko on Sunday after using him in seven straight. The coach was disappointed in Grigorenko’s play Thursday in New Jersey.
“The three games before that, we really saw some good growth in his game,” Rolston said. “He took a step back for us, but now there’s more opportunity to keep moving.”
The Sabres conducted two shootout relays at the end of practice. Scott scored the winning goal in both.
“I don’t usually get a chance like that, but it’s always fun to score,” said the forward, who still doubts he’d get the shootout call during a game. “I maybe jumped up a couple of spots in the lineup, but hopefully it doesn’t get that far ever.”