Buffalo, N.Y. (WGR 550) – Buffalo Sabres forward Casey Mittelstadt had successful surgery on Friday and will be lost for a while.
Head coach Don Granato didn’t want to put a timetable on his centerman, but does expect him back before the season is over.
Mittelstadt has already missed 21 games this season after getting hurt on opening night against the Montreal Canadians. He only played three games before getting injured again on Tuesday.
Buffalo’s new goaltender Malcolm Subban returned to practice on Friday. He had been skating on his own since Tuesday. Subban got hurt in his first game with the Sabres this past Saturday against the Carolina Hurricanes.
Granato didn’t rule him out for playing this Saturday against the Washington Capitals.
“He went into the skate with the thought that we would evaluate after,” Granato said following Friday’s morning skate. “He could be 100%, so he was close to that.”
Subban mentioned that he’s very close to 100%.
Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen will get his second-straight start in goal on Friday after suffering a 2-0 loss on Tuesday to the Anaheim Ducks.
Buffalo has only won three of 18 games, and have lost six in a row.
Defenseman Robert Hagg won’t play on Friday, but Granato expects him to play on Saturday. He doesn’t want to bring him back from injury on back-to-back nights.
Buffalo lost in New York, 5-4 on Nov. 21 thanks to a goal by Rangers defenseman Ryan Lindgren at 19:59 of the third period. The Sabres had a 4-3 lead when Rasmus Dahlin scored at 13:12 of the second period, but couldn’t turn that into any points.
The Sabres face a red-hot Rangers team that has only lost twice in 13 games. One of those losses came on Wednesday when the Colorado Avalanche came to Madison Square Garden and won 7-3. New York had only given up eight goals in the six games before that.
The streak has the Rangers tied with the Carolina Hurricanes for second place in the Metropolitan Division, and one point behind Buffalo’s Saturday opponent, the Washington Capitals. The Rangers are third in the league with a points percentage of .740.
Artemi Panarin leads the Rangers in scoring with 31 points in 25 games. That ranks him seventh in league scoring. His 22 assists are third in the NHL. Defenseman Adam Fox also has 22 assists.
Chris Kreider is third in the league with 17 goals.
With Igor Shesterkin out with a lower-body injury, former New Jersey Devils goaltender Keith Kinkaid is up, but hasn’t played this season.
Alexander Georgiev is 4-1-1 this season with a 3.36 goals-against average and an .882 save percentage.
Join Schopp and the Bulldog for pregame coverage starting at 6 p.m. EST when they’ll be joined by Granato, Jeff Skinner and Kyle Okposo.
Skinner – Thompson – Olofsson
Asplund – Cozens – Okposo
Girgensons – Eakin – Hayden
Murray – Jankowski – Hinostroza
Tuch – Bjork
Dahlin – Jokiharju
Butcher – Pysyk
Hagg – Bryson – Miller