BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — Rookie goaltender Devon Levi and first-round pick Zach Benson did not practice with the Sabres on Friday, and both are listed as day-to-day with lower-body injuries.
Following a 4-3 loss against Calgary on Thursday night that dropped Buffalo to 1-3-0 through the first week of the season, coach Don Granato shuffled the Sabres top forward lines during practice.
Revisiting an alignment that had success late last season, Casey Mittelstadt centered the first line with Jeff Skinner and Alex Tuch on his wings, while Tage Thompson shifted to the second trio beside wingers Jordan Greenway and Dylan Cozens.
Thompson, who led the Sabres and was sixth in the NHL with 47 goals last season, scored his first of the year Thursday night. But the line with Mittelstadt, Greenway and Benson has been Buffalo’s best through the first four games. Cozens has been playing center and tallied a pair of assists against the Flames, after scoring in overtime of Buffalo’s lone victory this season Tuesday night.
Levi has started each game this season, posting a 3.26 goals-against average and .892 save percentage, slight regression from the end of last season when the 21-year-old had a 5-2-0 record with a 2.94 GAA and .905 SV%.
The Sabres have two backup goaltenders, Eric Comrie and Ukko-Pekka Luukkonnen, rostered and available for Saturday night’s home game against the New York Islanders.
Benson, 18, became the youngest Sabres skater to make the opening roster since Pierre Turgeon in 1987. The No. 13 overall pick in this year’s draft has two assists in four games, with some of the best advanced metrics on the team so far.
If Benson is unable to play against the New York Islanders on Saturday night, Victor Olofsson would likely draw back into the lineup after two games as a healthy scratch.
Jonah Bronstein joined the WIVB squad in 2022 as a digital sports reporter. The Buffalonian has covered the Bills, Sabres, Bandits, Bisons, colleges, high schools and other notable sporting events in Western New York since 2005, for publications including The Associated Press, The Buffalo News, and Niagara Gazette. Read more of his work here.