Sabres head to Toronto to face the Leafs

Linus Ullmark gets the call in net

Paul Hamilton
September 22, 2017 - 12:19 pm

Buffalo, NY (WGR 550) - The Sabres head up to the Ricoh Coliseum to play the Leafs tonight. Buffalo has a home and home preseason schedule with Toronto and they won’t see the Leafs again until March. New coach Phil Housley said he looked at the schedule and was surprised, “It’s crazy when I looked at the schedule that here’s one of our rivals and in our division that we’re not going to see until March and hopefully they’re going to be really meaningful games and there’ll be something on the line.”

The Sabres will feature a lineup that won’t have many regulars in it. Only Ryan O’Reilly, Jake McCabe, Benoit Pouliot, Zemgus Girgensons and Johan Larsson will play from the big club. Housley has been working the system hard in practice the past three days. He said it’s now time to see it in a game, “We’ve been getting repetition on it so it becomes second nature, so I’d like to see some of the things we did the last few days that they grasp them and do it in the game tonight.”

“I think it’s going to be important because I anticipate Toronto will have a good lineup because they’ve lost their last two games and they’ve only scored four goals, so I’m sure it’ll be a good challenge for our guys.”

Alex Nylander has not participated in any of camp with a lower body injury. Housley said, “He’s doing well, he’s making strides every day. It’s something we’re going to be slow with, but he is making improvements, so I don’t know when he’ll be on the ice, but I would say it’ll be in the near future.”

Linus Ullmark will get the call in goal. He played the third period and the overtime against Carolina and just gave up the overtime breakaway goal. He made 11 saves.

Before the Sabres signed Chad Johnson, I thought Ullmark was ready to take the backup role to Robin Lehner. He was an AHL All-Star last season and played more games than he ever had before. Jason Botterill thought Ullmark needed another year in Rochester. The Swedish netminder said, “You always want to be the guy that plays in the NHL, but I’m just going to bide my time, take my time, enjoy every day as it goes, try to develop my game and me as a person and that’s what I’m looking forward to.”

Ullmark definitely feels he can play in the NHL, “I sure hope so. I feel I can play in that league, but I have to make an effort down there, I can’t just half assed or have sloppiness, it’s got to be very professional every day and go 100 percent, no 50’s because then you have guys coming from underneath who want to take your spot and I’ve got to do the same thing, I want to earn my spot.”

Ullmark has a different way to measure his growth. It isn’t just all on the ice, “I always try to think of it as a personal development, if I can develop myself as a person, as a human being, I can grow as a goalie.”

“There was a lot of things that happened, good things and bad things and I grew from it. I’m 24, I still have lots to learn, lots of hockey in me so that’s how it is.”

Backing up Ullmark tonight is Adam Wilcox who played one period and the overtime at Penn State.


Tonight’s lineup:

Pouliot - O’Reilly - Griffith

Rodrigues - Girgensons - Moses

Larsson - Josefson - Baptiste

Deslauriers - Porter - Pu


McCabe - Tennyson

Falk - Fedun

Goloubef - Antipin


Join Dan Dunleavy and Rob Ray for the call at 7:35 a.m. on WGR Sports Radio 550.

Pre-sale tickets for the World Junior Tournament outdoor game are on sale now to Sabres season ticket holders.

Tickets go on sale to the general public Monday at 10 a.m. The prices will follow the dynamic pricing model.

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