Ellis out, Vanek questionable

BOSTON -- The Buffalo Sabres will make a game-time decision on whether winger Thomas Vanek (lower body injury) will play in Game 4 on Wednesday night against the Boston Bruins at TD Garden.

Winger Matt Ellis has been ruled out for Buffalo. The team called up tough guy Cody McCormick from Portland of the AHL to take his place.

Vanek, the Sabres’ leading goal scorer in the regular season, participated in the team’s game-day skate Wednesday morning and coach Lindy Ruff was encouraged.

“He’s doing well,” said Ruff. “I didn’t anticipate him skating today. He felt better, so that part was encouraging. We’re just trying to get him a little extra ice to see what he looks like.”

He was injured in the first period of Game 2 when he crashed into the boards and has not played since. He’s been sporting a walking cast on his left leg.

Ellis was on the receiving end of an open-ice hit by the Bruins’ Johnny Boychuk in Game 3 on Monday at the Garden. Ellis was able to return and played sparingly.

McCormick will add a physical presence, which is something the Sabres have been without the last two games. He posted 168 penalty minutes in 66 games for the Pirates this season.

“He’s played very well,” said Ruff. “He’s a guy who is playing 16 to 20 minutes a game down there and he’s a big body who can get to the front of the net. He can win battles down low. ... He plays the game real hard.”