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At the Rink blog

Lightning don't want to underestimate Sabres

Saturday, 10.26.2013 / 11:54 AM

By Lonnie Herman - NHL.com Correspondent / 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

TAMPA -- The Tampa Bay Lightning wrap up their longest homestand of the season against the Buffalo Sabres Saturday night, and they are finishing the seven-game stint with an extra morning off.

Both teams had optional skates this morning and very few players took advantage of the ice time.

But while the Buffalo Sabres, who won their second game of the season Friday night against the Florida Panthers, were not on the ice Saturday morning, they certainly were on the mind of Lightning coach Jon Cooper, who cautioned his team not to take Buffalo lightly.

"All we remember is that we played Buffalo once and we had to grind out the game in overtime to get two points," Cooper said. "One thing you can't do is look at the standings. Just look at last year because we were 28th, so Buffalo might be saying, ‘oh wow, we have to be careful not to look past Tampa.'

"These are probably two teams looking at each other and thinking, ‘these are two points we can get'. For us, we will try to tell our guys to forget who we are playing. Whether we are playing the Stanley Cup champs or the team that finished 30th last year, it's what we do, it's our effort, it's our consistent play, and then we'll see how it falls. The second we start looking at the standings we're in trouble. We'll be done. We'll come out with zero points."

The Sabres' roster is already depleted with both John Scott and Patrick Kaleta serving suspensions. But in addition they have lost Mike Weber to an upper-body injury sustained during the second period against the Panthers.

Henrik Tallinder, a healthy scratch Friday night, will take Weber's spot in the lineup against the Lightning.

Here are the projected lineups for the Sabres and Lightning. Both teams will likely dress seven defensemen:

SABRES

Thomas Vanek - Cody Hodgson - Drew Stafford

Tyler Ennis - Marcus Foligno - Steve Ott

Zemgus Girgensons - Johan Larsson - Brian Flynn

Cody McCormick - Mikhail Grigorenko

Christian Ehrhoff - Mark Pysyk

Nikita Zadorov - Tyler Myers

Henrik Tallinder - Jamie McBain

Rasmus Ristolainen

Ryan Miller

Jhonas Enroth

Scratched: Patrick Kaleta (suspension), John Scott (suspension)

Injured: Ville Leino (rib), Mike Weber (upper body)

LIGHTNING

Ryan MaloneSteven StamkosMartin St. Louis

Richard PanikValtteri FilppulaAlex Killorn

Ondrej PalatTyler JohnsonTeddy Purcell

B.J. CrombeenNate Thompson

Matthew CarleRadko Gudas

Victor HedmanSami Salo

Eric Brewer – Mark Barbierio

Keith Aulie

Ben Bishop

Anders Lindback

Scratched: Pierre-Cedric Labrie, Andrej Sustr

Injured: Tom Pyatt (collarbone), Brian Lee (knee)

I've been getting frustrated lately, and the only thing keeping me sane was the team winning and other people stepping up and scoring. Then you just kind of let it go and realize you can end the series with one shot, that frustration goes away for a brief moment, and that's what happened.

— Montreal forward Max Pacioretty after scoring the series-winner in Game 4 -- his first career playoff goal -- to eliminate the Lightning and send the Canadiens into the second round