After missing 30 games due to groin surgery, Buffalo Sabres winger Tyler Ennis returned to the team’s lineup this afternoon and it didn’t take long to make a good impression. Ennis scored just 19 seconds into Buffalo’s matinee contest against Dallas today to give the Sabres an early lead. Prior to the injury, the 27-year-old Ennis had tallied just a single goal and an assist in 12 appearances.
Ennis, a three-time 20-goal scorer, has been a spectator much of the past two seasons, seeing action in just 23 contests a year ago and now missing 30 games this season. A healthy Ennis would provide a big boost to the Sabres lineup, both for the balance of this campaign and beyond.
Elsewhere in the Atlantic Division:
- Sticking with the Sabres, the team has also recalled center Cal O’Reilly from Rochester of the AHL in advance of today’s game, according to John Vogl of the Buffalo News. O’Reilly, 30, has 34 points in 36 minor league games and has also made four appearances with the Sabres, failing to register a point. In 137 career NHL games the 30-year-old pivot has scored 16 goals and 48 points.
- The Florida Panthers have recalled defenseman Dylan McIlrath from a conditioning assignment with Springfield in the AHL, the team announced via Twitter. McIlrath appeared in six games with the Thunderbirds, tallying a goal and an assist while accumulating 13 minutes in penalties. Florida acquired the physical blue liner in a trade earlier this season from the New York Rangers in exchange for fellow defenseman Steven Kampfer and a draft choice.
- Toronto Maple Leafs forward Ben Smith is nearing a return to the club, reports James Mirtle of TSN. Mirtle adds that Smith will have the pins removed from his broken hand later in the week. Smith was claimed by the Leafs off of waivers from Colorado earlier this season and has scored two goals and one assist while primarily playing on the team’s fourth line and serving as a key penalty killer.