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Posted On Wednesday, 12.31.2014 / 12:51 PM

By Joe Yerdon -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2014-2015 At the Rink blog

At the Rink: Lightning at Sabres

BUFFALO -- The Tampa Bay Lightning will turn to rookie goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy to try and turn around their slump on the road.

Vasilevskiy will make his fourth start of the season when the Lightning play the Buffalo Sabres at First Niagara Center on Wednesday. The 20-year-old Russian was recalled by the Lightning on Tuesday from Syracuse of the American Hockey League. Evgeni Nabokov will be the backup and Ben Bishop will be scratched.

"It's a tough stretch down the road, as we know," Lightning associate coach Rick Bowness said. "We're lucky to have [Nabokov] with us and we're lucky to have this kid [Vasilevskiy], who's come up and played so very well for us in the three games that he played. It's an easy game for him to come in terms of commute. It's not a long day of travel for him."

Vasilevskiy is 2-1-0 with a .940 save percentage in his three games. He set a Lightning rookie record with 45 saves against the New York Islanders on Dec. 20.

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Posted On Saturday, 12.27.2014 / 1:46 PM

By Joe Yerdon -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2014-2015 At the Rink blog

At the Rink: Islanders at Sabres

BUFFALO -- The Christmas break turned out to be a helpful one for the Buffalo Sabres.

The Sabres will have three players back in the lineup against the New York Islanders on Saturday they didn't have on Tuesday. Forwards Matt Moulson (illness) and Cody McCormick (lower-body) along with defenseman Mike Weber (knee) will return.

"I feel a little fragile this year so far," McCormick said with a laugh. "Hopefully I'll be a little more durable going forward. It feels good to be back in."

Moulson's return to the lineup came after he recovered from the flu. He went through testing for mumps, but was cleared from that.

"I think everyone's worried about [mumps], what's going on throughout the League, but I got all the testing done for it," Moulson said. "[I] started feeling better Monday … had to wait for tests."

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Posted On Saturday, 12.20.2014 / 1:49 PM

By Joe Yerdon -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2014-2015 At the Rink blog

At the Rink: Avalanche at Sabres

BUFFALO – The Colorado Avalanche will have a pair of players returning to the lineup when they face the Buffalo Sabres at First Niagara Center on Saturday.

Forwards John Mitchell and Patrick Bordeleau will return from injury and are in the lineup for the Avalanche. Mitchell missed seven games with a lower-body injury he sustained against the Dallas Stars on Nov. 29. He will center a line with Alex Tanguay and Jarome Iginla on the wings.

“It feels nice,” Mitchell said. “It feels real good to be out there and skate and finally play a game and not show up at the rink at 6:45 right before the guys go out. Just the thought of being here on time for game time and being prepared, it feels good.”

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Posted On Monday, 12.15.2014 / 1:38 PM

By Joe Yerdon -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2014-2015 At the Rink blog

At the Rink: Senators at Sabres

BUFFALO – The Buffalo Sabres have won nine of their past 12 games and look to win their sixth straight at home when they face the Ottawa Senators on Monday.

The Sabres are coming off a 4-3 overtime win against the Florida Panthers on Saturday in which Josh Gorges and Andrej Meszaros each left with injuries. Each player skated Monday and may be back in against the Senators.

Gorges left in the third period after he injured his hand blocking a shot. Meszaros left in the second period after he took a puck off his chin from an Aaron Ekblad shot.

"I felt relatively good, good enough to play," Gorges said. "Now it's a matter of making sure there's doctor's clearance and there's no further damage."

Gorges admitted his hand "isn't 100 percent" but he's ready to play.

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Posted On Saturday, 12.13.2014 / 12:41 PM

By Joe Yerdon -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2014-2015 At the Rink blog

At the Rink: Panthers at Sabres

BUFFALO -- The Buffalo Sabres are seeking their fifth consecutive win but will have to beat a Florida Panthers team on Saturday that they haven’t had much success against recently to do it.

The Sabres have lost five consecutive to the Panthers and four straight at First Niagara Center. The Sabres dropped a 3-2 decision to the Panthers Dec. 6 in Sunrise.

"Last game we put a ton of shots on net and had really good chances," Sabres forward Cody Hodgson said. "Either [Roberto Luongo or Al Montoya] will be a challenge tonight. Hopefully we get a lot of puck on the net and keep the offense rolling."

Hodgson will re-enter the Sabres lineup after he was a healthy scratch against the Calgary Flames on Thursday. He takes the place of Cody McCormick who is out with a lower-body injury. Hodgson skated on a line with Chris Stewart and Patrick Kaleta at practice on Friday.

"We’ve got the [Zemgus] Girgensons line going now and we’ve got the [Torrey] Mitchell line going," Sabres coach Ted Nolan said. "We’re just kind of finding those mixtures there. If we get [Drew] Stafford continuing to play, we’ll get that mixture going. You never know what will get Cody going from within."

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Posted On Thursday, 12.11.2014 / 1:37 PM

By Joe Yerdon -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2014-2015 At the Rink blog

At the Rink: Flames at Sabres

BUFFALO – The Calgary Flames will likely have forward Joe Colborne back in the lineup as they look to stop a two-game losing skid when they face the Buffalo Sabres on Thursday.

Colborne skated with Sean Monahan and Paul Byron on Thursday. Those three make up what would be Calgary's top line.

"Joe I think is 99.9 [percent] he's in," Flames coach Bob Hartley said. "He feels real good. So we're going to meet right after [team] meeting and don't be surprised if he's in."

Colborne has no goals and eight assists in 11 games. He's been out since sustaining an upper-body injury Oct. 28 against the Montreal Canadiens. Forward Michael Ferland was sent to Adirondack of the American Hockey League to activate Colborne off injured reserve.

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Posted On Tuesday, 12.09.2014 / 1:34 PM

By Joe Yerdon -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2014-2015 At the Rink blog

At the Rink: Kings at Sabres

BUFFALO -- The Los Angeles Kings are getting their forwards back together for their matchup against the Buffalo Sabres on Tuesday.

Marian Gaborik skated with Anze Kopitar and Justin Williams during morning skate at First Niagara Center and appears set to rejoin the lineup after missing the past four games with an illness.

“He’s a huge X-factor,” Williams said. “When he’s on his game, he’s as explosive as there is in the game of hockey. Injuries have slowed him a little bit, but the game is all still there. He’s someone other teams have to key on.”

In 15 games this season, Gaborik has four goals and four assists. Seven of his eight points have come at even strength.

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Posted On Tuesday, 12.02.2014 / 1:45 PM

By Joe Yerdon -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2014-2015 At the Rink blog

At the Rink: Lightning at Sabres

BUFFALO -- The Buffalo Sabres will have one of their leaders on defense back against the Tampa Bay Lightning on Tuesday (7:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN).

Defenseman Josh Gorges will return to the lineup after missing the past seven games with a knee injury. He'll play on the top pairing alongside Tyler Myers. The Sabres have won five of their past six games and swept a home-and-home series against the Canadiens on Friday and Saturday.

"Anytime you're out and you haven't played in a while, I think the biggest thing, and it doesn't matter how old you get or how many games you've played, is calming the nerves," Gorges said. "Especially when the guys have been playing well and winning. You don't want to come in and mess that up. It's about staying in the moment, taking it one shift at a time."

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Posted On Friday, 11.28.2014 / 1:46 PM

By Joe Yerdon -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2014-2015 At the Rink blog

At the Rink: Canadiens at Sabres

BUFFALO -- The Buffalo Sabres will have Tyler Myers back in the lineup on Friday against the Montreal Canadiens.

Myers missed the game Wednesday against the Winnipeg Jets with a lower-body injury. The Sabres replaced him with Andre Benoit and lost 2-1.

"I feel good," Myers said. "I'll be in tonight, no problem."

Myers was a late scratch and did not skate in warm-ups after practicing normally on Tuesday. He was struck in the hand by a shot from Alex Ovechkin in the Sabres 2-1 win against the Washington Capitals on Nov. 22.

"It was pretty much just bad timing," Myers said. "I gave it a go and I was in a position where I needed an extra day and feeling good now."

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Posted On Wednesday, 11.26.2014 / 12:36 PM

By Joe Yerdon -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2014-2015 At the Rink blog

At the Rink: Jets at Sabres

BUFFALO -- Buffalo Sabres forward Patrick Kaleta has not played in a home game since Oct. 10, 2013. That will change against the Winnipeg Jets.

Kaleta is set to rejoin the lineup on Wednesday taking the place of Cody McCormick, who is being evaluated for a possible concussion. Kaleta has played in one game this season, on the road against the Minnesota Wild on Nov. 13.

"I'm anxious," Kaleta said. "I feel better today than I did in Minnesota. In Minnesota I felt real nervous. Today, I feel more calm and controlled. Over the past couple weeks, even during practice, I feel like I'm starting to get my legs back and my power. My practices the past couple weeks have been really good and beneficial to my game and, like I said, I feel more comfortable today than I have in the past."

Kaleta missed most of last season with a torn ACL he sustained while playing for the Rochester Americans in the American Hockey League. He missed the start of this season after he injured his eye and jaw after being a struck by a puck in the preseason. Kaleta will be on a line with Marcus Foligno and Chris Stewart, but it's up in the air as to who will play center on that line.

"We'll probably put him on the wing position," Sabres coach Ted Nolan said. "We'll probably put [Foligno] in the middle, but we'll see how it goes."

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Quote of the Day

That was something I've been dreaming of, something I've told myself before the third period I was going to do ... It was an amazing feeling. It's hard to describe. I didn't believe it went in at first but when I saw all the reaction and all the fans going crazy and my teammates going crazy, it's just an unbelievable feeling. I didn't know what to do. I didn't know whether to jump or just skate and do a Theo Fleury. I don't think I'm the same caliber player he is so I couldn't do it.

— Flames forward Mikael Backlund on scoring the overtime winner against the Ducks in Gm. 3