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At the Rink: Islanders at Sabres

by Joe Yerdon

BUFFALO -- The Buffalo Sabres will be without forward Tyler Ennis when they host the New York Islanders on Thursday (6 p.m. ET; MSG+, MSG-B, BELL TV).

Ennis was injured Wednesday during the second period of the Sabres' 5-2 loss to the Washington Capitals. He previously missed 12 games with an upper-body injury from Nov. 24 to Dec. 18.

"It's an upper-body injury and we're still kind of waiting to get a diagnosis on him from the doctor," Sabres coach Dan Bylsma said.

Matt Moulson will replace Ennis in the lineup after he was a healthy scratch against the Capitals. Moulson will be on a line with Johan Larsson and Evander Kane.

"He's going to get an opportunity to get back in there and be on a good line that he can get in there and contribute and bring what he brings to our team," Bylsma said. "That's what he has to do. He hasn't been in that situation and he hasn't done that for us in the last while. That's a disappointing thing for Matt, but he's going to get the opportunity to get back in there and do what he can for our team to help us win this game."

Goaltender Linus Ullmark will start.

The Islanders will go back to the same lineup they used in a 6-3 win against the Toronto Maple Leafs on Tuesday.

"I thought our guys played pretty well the last game," Islanders coach Jack Capuano said. "Not just because we won the game with the amount of goals we scored, but I thought we did some good things as a group and we've got some games coming up."

The Sabres defeated the Islanders 2-1 on Nov. 1 in Brooklyn. The Sabres lineup this time around has Kane and defenseman Zach Bogosian in it, and even though they've lost three of the past four games, the Islanders are not looking past their opponent.

"[The Sabres] have young legs, they're a good hockey team, and they can score goals," Capuano said. "Going back and watching, especially that Boston game (on Saturday) in the third period, I think they're second in the League with most goals as a team in the third period, goals for, so they've got some firepower. … We've got to be ready to play; this is a good hockey team. I thought they played well last night in Washington. It's a good test."

Goalie Thomas Greiss will start against the Sabres. Capuano said goalie Jaroslav Halak, on injured reserve with an upper-body injury, has rejoined the Islanders.

"He'll go through a little bit of therapy here with our team and use the ice there when we get to Pittsburgh in the next couple of days," Capuano said.

Here are the projected lineups:


Anders LeeJohn TavaresJosh Bailey

Brock NelsonMikhail GrabovskiRyan Strome

Nikolay KuleminFrans NielsenKyle Okposo

Matt MartinCasey CizikasCal Clutterbuck

Nick LeddyTravis Hamonic

Calvin de HaanJohnny Boychuk

Thomas HickeyMarek Zidlicky

Thomas Greiss

Christopher Gibson

Injured: Jaroslav Halak (upper-body)

Scratched: Brian Strait, Steve Bernier


Jamie McGinnRyan O'ReillySam Reinhart

Matt MoulsonJohan LarssonEvander Kane

Zemgus GirgensonsJack EichelBrian Gionta

Nicolas DeslauriersDavid LegwandMarcus Foligno

Josh GorgesRasmus Ristolainen

Jake McCabeZach Bogosian

Mike WeberCody Franson

Linus Ullmark

Chad Johnson

Injured: Tyler Ennis (upper-body), Mark Pysyk (lower-body), Robin Lehner (ankle), Cody McCormick (blood clot)

Scratched: Carlo Colaiacovo

Status update: Moulson's return to the lineup has him playing on the second line. He played his past three games on the fourth line.

Who's hot: Eichel has eight points (two goals, six assists) in the past five games. … Kulemin has a goal in each of the past two games.

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