Buffalo Sabres winger Alex Tuch is listed as questionable for Friday’s game against the Minnesota Wild, head coach Don Granato said today. Granato said Tuch has been dealing with some “soreness,” explaining a rash of missed practices lately, and will likely only play one of two games of their back-to-back today and tomorrow.
Tuch, 27, has rebounded nicely after a slow start to the season. Recently reunited with Jeff Skinner and Tage Thompson on the team’s top line after some shuffling, Tuch has three goals and six points in his last five contests and has seen his ice time creep north of 20 minutes in the previous two games. He’s also dominating possession, recording a career-high relative Corsi share of 6.3% at even strength.
His potential absence has created some opportunity for 2022 ninth-overall pick Matthew Savoie, who Granato says will make his NHL debut Friday regardless of Tuch’s status. Savoie had a strong rookie camp but sustained a shoulder injury that kept him out for most of the preseason and the first few weeks of October. He returned to action later in the month when the Sabres assigned him to the AHL’s Rochester Americans on a conditioning stint, during which he racked up two goals and three assists in six games. The Sabres recalled him from his conditioning stint earlier this week, although he was a healthy scratch for Tuesday’s game against the Carolina Hurricanes.
Other Sabres items of interest:
- Granato confirmed that center Dylan Cozens is returning to the lineup Friday after missing two games with an upper-body injury. Cozens sustained the injury in a fight with Philadelphia Flyers winger Garnet Hathaway late in a 5-1 loss one week ago today. The 22-year-old has three goals and four assists through 11 contests this season after breaking out for 31 goals and 68 points in 2022-23. Cozens and Savoie entering the lineup tonight means one or two out of Tyson Jost, Victor Olofsson and Lukáš Rousek will sit, depending on Tuch’s availability.
- Lastly, Granato said defenseman Mattias Samuelsson could return to the lineup for Saturday’s road tilt against the Pittsburgh Penguins. Samuelsson will miss a third straight game with a lower-body injury tonight, which was sustained in the first period of last Friday’s loss to the Flyers. Samuelsson’s play has been okay this season after signing a seven-year, $30MM extension, recording four points through 11 games and a Corsi share of 48% at even strength. His impending return means rookie Ryan Johnson will likely return to AHL Rochester tomorrow after a three-game trial with the big club.