Sam Reinhart is back in a familiar place as the Florida Panthers visit the Buffalo Sabres on Monday night.
Reinhart, who spent seven seasons with Buffalo after being the second overall pick of the 2014 NHL Draft, skated at Key Bank Center for the first time since the Sabres traded him to the Panthers over the summer.
With 52 games played, Reinhart has settled in quite nicely in South Florida.
”It’s nice coming back,” Reinhart said. “It seems like a long time ago, especially at this time of the year when I have played so many games with the new team. But it is nice coming back. It was kind of weird going to a new group early on and it did not come easy right away.
“It took some time to learn how to play that system and get comfortable in that environment. But once I did that, it has been a lot of fun to play here with this group of guys.”
Coach Andrew Brunette has some history with being a visitor in a place he spent a lot of time in as a player.
He said no matter what happens, being back in Buffalo means something not only to Reinhart, but to defenseman Brandon Montour as well.
”I think it’s very emotional,’’ Brunette said. “This is a team that drafted you, brought you in and developed you through the stretch. You have friends, you walk around the building and know people. It’s hard. It’s much easier playing your former team at home than on the road.
“But Reino is a pro. He has shown us nothing but professionalism since he has been here. And Monty was here for a couple of years and it’s maybe a different story. But anytime you come back, there are different emotions and they are not usually fun games. You just want to get them over with in my experience. Those two have been a big part of our team … we hope they bring their A-plus game.”
Florida is looking for its third consecutive win after winning its past two home games over Ottawa and Detroit by a combined 9-2.
The Panthers have not played in Buffalo since Jan. 4, 2020 — when goalie Spencer Knight was a freshman at Boston College.
Knight, recalled from AHL Charlotte on Sunday, will get the start against former Florida goalie Craig Anderson.
Sergei Bobrovsky is expected to start Tuesday when the Panthers visit Pittsburgh.
MORNING SKATE UPDATE
Ryan Lomberg was placed on Injured Reserve on Sunday after being involved in a big hit at center ice Thursday — which led to a fight with former Florida defenseman Josh Brown.
Lomberg did not practice Friday so his IR is likely retroactive to then.
Brunette said he hopes Lomberg is “back pretty soon.”
By being on IR, he has to miss a week and three games. Lomberg will hit the three-game threshold by not playing Tuesday in Pittsburgh but will still have to miss a week which means he is out until the Panthers visit Los Angeles on Sunday night.
— Defenseman Petteri Lindbohm joined the team and is wearing No. 40. He will not play Monday as Brunette says he has not skated in a while and needs to get some work in.
With the Panthers not having a regular practice until Friday, he could see action on the upcoming west coast trip. Lindbohm will wear No. 40 with the Panthers.
FLORIDA PANTHERS ON DECK
FLORIDA PANTHERS AT BUFFALO SABRES
- When: Monday, 7 p.m.
- Where: Key Bank Center, Buffalo
- Tickets: CLICK HERE
- TV/Streaming: Bally Sports Florida
- Radio: WQAM 560-AM, SiriusXM
- FanDuel odds — Florida favored: Money Line (-310); Puck line (-1.5, -120); Over/Under 6.5 (-122/+100)
- 2021 regular season series: Did not play
- Season Series — Florida leads 1-0: @Florida 7, Sabres 4 (Dec. 2)
- All-time regular season series: Buffalo leads 52-43-5, 4 ties