BUFFALO Most times, when Zac Rinaldo hits a guy, the opponent goes down hard.
Sunday, Rinaldo slammed into Sabres defenseman Robyn Regehr in the first period and Rinaldo went down.
Then he hobbled off the ice, not to return with an ugly skate cut above the right knee that required 20 stitches.
Its hockey, it happens, Rinaldo said. I never caught a skate like that. Its the second time I ever had stitches in my entire life.
General manager Paul Holmgren said the laceration will keep Rinaldo out a minimum of seven days.
I went over top of Regehr and the way we collided was funny and I guess his skate was still in the air when my leg was there, Rinaldo said.
It was a weird feeling. I looked at my pad, and the sock was cut. It was like an X-acto knife cut it. I saw that and I was pissed off it happened.
Rinaldo had two hits in his 2:47 of ice time. His teammates had a combined 10 hits the remainder of the game. Thats nine hits for him in less than 12 minutes played through two games.
Linesman Steve Miller stepped between Luke Schenn and Marcus Foligno in the first period as they the dropped gloves. Both got roughing minors.
Miller had less success doing that in the second period when Scott Hartnell and Drew Stafford squared off. Hartnell got in the better punch and won the bout, although he fell to the ice first.
It was definitely the right thing for Stafford to do, Sabres goalie Ryan Miller said. Yeah, you can send a message in a game that were here to play. They like to bump, they like to grind, they like to get in your face, talk a little bit. So remind them your there, its good.
Ex-Flyer good guy Ville Leinos right hip is ailing him, which is why he was scratched for the game. He will require offseason surgery, but plans to rehab and get through this season with medical treatment. Leino had surgery on his left hip as a Flyer and feels he probably should have had double hip surgery at the time.
Heres a leftover from the season the opener: Sidney Crosby won 5 of 6 draws against Sean Couturier and 7 of 12 against Claude Giroux.
In all, Crosby had the games best faceoff percentage of 65 percent, winning 13 of 20 against the Flyers. Pittsburgh won 56 percent of the draws, overall.
Against Buffalo, the Flyers fared better, yet still lost 54 percent of their faceoffs. Sean Couturier is struggling early and won just 8 of 19 (42 percent) on Sunday.
Both nights we were under 50 percent and I dont think its right to talk about one guy, coach Peter Laviolette said. We can all be a little bit better in that area.
And sometimes, thats not just the centerman but the wingers helping out, and making sure the puck goes backwards and not forward. We gotta lot of work to do.
Ruslan Fedotenko is also taking draws in Danny Brieres absence (left wrist injury) given Fedotenko's veteran experience, but he won only 38 percent (3 of 8) against the Sabres.
The Flyers are 0-2 for the first time since the 2008-09 season, when they lost their first two games of the season to the New York Rangers and Montreal Canadiens. Both were home games This is the second year in a row that Claude Giroux has scored in each of the first two games. A year ago, Giroux scored in each of the Flyers first three games Wayne Simmonds, who is playing very well with nothing to show for it, led the Flyers with five shots on goal. Two others were blocked Buffalos Steve Ott scored on his first shot. The last Sabre to score on his first shot in his first game as a Sabre was Leino in the season opener against Anaheim on Oct. 7, 2011 Thomas Vaneks five points were a career-high. Teammate Jason Pominville (three assists) has 27 points in 27 games against the Flyers.
E-mail Tim Panaccio at firstname.lastname@example.org