Sabres' Ristolainen returns after being sick

The Sabres have only beaten Nashville once at home

Paul Hamilton
April 02, 2019 - 1:10 pm

Photo: Christopher Hanewinckel - USA TODAY Sports

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Buffalo, NY (WGR 550) - Rasmus Ristolainen returns on Tuesday after being very sick. It was a week ago that the defenseman fell ill in Ottawa and he hasn’t been around since. After missing four games, he’s ready to return, “The last few days it’s been normal training trying to get back into game condition, but before that starting in Ottawa, a couple of rough days losing a lot of weight, but I feel pretty good right now.”

Ristolainen said his weight is still down a lot. He said despite that, his stamina is OK, “Actually I felt really, really good today and a lot of energy. Mentally I’m really fresh and excited about tonight.”

It’s never fun sitting out, but Ristolainen said it’s harder when the team isn’t playing well, “Yes, you can’t help the guys from the gym, so it’s been tough to watch, but hard times makes tough people.”

The effort was non-existent in Ottawa and Long Island, but was better against Columbus. Ristolainen said there are thing to play for, “There’s nothing to lose and everyone has got to play for something or at least give the fans what they earned and bring some excitement for them and play for each other in here.”

With Ristolainen returning, Will Borgen, who is on emergency recall, comes out. If I was in charge of this team tonight, it would be the end of the line for all the Amerks players that are up. I would send them all back down Wednesday so they could play in a home-and-home series against Syracuse for first place. I feel playing in games like that is much better for their development.

Borgen has been very calm back on defense in the four games that he’s played. Things have gone wrong around him, which accounts for him being minus-5 in those games, but Housley has been impressed, “He’s positionally sound, very good defensively, he has really good gap and stick detail and he moves the puck very well.

“It’s a very simple game, very steady, but with the pace of the play the decisions and processing have to come a little quicker.”

Alex Nylander had a couple of good games, but his play has fallen off drastically since then. Phil Housley said, “In the first couple of games it was more of him trying to get comfortable with his line mates and then he had some really good games for his in three and four, but he has to get back to attacking the game, getting into battle, using his feet, using his speed because when he does that and attacks the game, down low he’s good at protecting pucks and creating his own separation, he’s just got to get back to that.”

Jason Pominville returns to the lineup with Zemgus Girgensons, Matt Hunwick, Zach Bogosian, Vladimir Sobotka, Matt Tennyson and Marco Scandella out. Housley confirmed Scandella will miss the final three games.

 

Tuesday’s lines:

Olofsson - Eichel - Reinhart

Sheary - Mittelstadt - Nylander

Wilson - Larsson - Pominville

Skinner - Rodrigues - Okposo

 

Dahlin - Ristolainen

Pilut - Nelson

McCabe - Montour

Hunwick - Borgen

 

Carter Hutton will be in goal against his former team. Hutton allowed just two goals in a 2-1 loss in Nashville.

The Preds are tied with St. Louis for second place in the Central Division, two points in back of Winnipeg.

Nashville has won just two of its last five games scoring just seven goals.

Pekka Rinne will be in goal. In his last five games, he’s given up three goals total in four of them, but five in the other game.

Viktor Arvidsson has had an amazing season for the Predators. He has 33 goals in just 55 games, which is a pace of 49 goals over 82 games.

Filip Forsberg has 27 goals.

In February, Nashville acquired Brian Boyle, Wayne Simmonds and Mikael Granlund. In 23 games, Boyle has five goals and no assists. In 13 games, Granlund has a goal and three assists and in 14 games, Simmonds has just one goal and one assist for two points.

In their history, Nashville has only lost one game in Buffalo and tied one, going 10-1-1-0.

Join the Bulldog for the pre-game live from (716) Food and Sport at 6:00 when he’ll be joined by Phil Housley, Rasmus Ristolainen and Scott Wilson.

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