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At the Rink: Sabres at Flyers

by Adam Kimelman

PHILADELPHIA -- Forward Michael Raffl will be in the Philadelphia Flyers lineup Tuesday against the Buffalo Sabres (7 p.m. ET; TVA Sports, MSG-B, BELL TV, CSN-PH) after collapsing on the bench during a game Saturday.

"Just a shot on my chin and a knockout point, I guess,' Raffl told USA Today of the injury sustained in the second period against the New York Rangers. "Nothing too serious. I was fine 10 minutes after and I feel fine [Monday] and [Sunday] was perfect."

Raffl caused a scare after he collided with Rangers forward Jarret Stoll then needed assistance from the bench to the locker room. He practiced Monday in his usual spot on the top line with Claude Giroux and Jakub Voracek.

"I guess I had expected to see him out there," Flyers coach Dave Hakstol told the newspaper Monday, "but it was good to see him out there for the full practice."

Buffalo will play its first game without forward Evander Kane, who injured his knee Saturday against the New Jersey Devils and will be out 4-6 weeks.

The Sabres will use rookie forwards Sam Reinhart and Jack Eichel on the same line. Reinhart, the second pick of the 2014 NHL Draft, will play left wing on the line; he has one goal and three assists in eight games. Eichel, the second pick of the 2015 NHL Draft, will center the line; he's tied for the Sabres lead with three goals.

Sabres coach Dan Bylsma has used them on the same line sporadically during the season and it's worked well. Now there's a chance to see how it works for an entire game.

"Sam is really the guy that has benefitted from it the most and complemented Jack the best in terms of his smartness, his hockey sense, as far as going into areas and getting him the puck," Bylsma said. "Jack's a skater with the puck and needs to get it in certain spots to be effective in that regard. Sam has been the best in terms of getting him the puck in those areas."

Nicolas Deslauriers will go into Kane's spot at left wing on the top line, with center Ryan O'Reilly and right wing Tyler Ennis. In eight games this season Deslauriers has one goal and one assist, and is second on the Sabres with 19 hits.

"It would be a real big mistake to try to be somebody he's not out there," Bylsma said. "He just needs to play a straight-line, physical game, provide some speed, some forecheck and net presence for that group."

Flyers center Sean Couturier took part in the morning skate but will miss his second straight game. Couturier said he sustained a concussion on a hit from the Boston Bruins forward Zac Rinaldo on Oct. 21 but skated Friday and said he's feeling better.

"I’m progressing every day," Couturier said. "Hopefully I can be ready by Thursday [against the Devils]."

Here are the projected lineups:


Nicolas Deslauriers - Ryan O'Reilly - Tyler Ennis

Sam Reinhart - Jack Eichel - Johan Larsson

Matt Moulson- Zemgus Girgensons - Brian Gionta

Marcus Foligno - David Legwand - Jamie McGinn

Josh Gorges - Rasmus Ristolainen

Jake McCabe - Mark Pysyk

Carlo Colaiacovo - Cody Franson

Chad Johnson

Linus Ullmark

Injured: Evander Kane (knee), Robin Lehner (ankle), Zach Bogosian (lower body), Cody McCormick (blood clot)

Scratched: Mike Weber, Tim Schaller


Michael Raffl - Claude Giroux - Jakub Voracek

Matt Read - Sam Gagner - Wayne Simmonds

R.J. Umberger - Scott Laughton - Brayden Schenn

Chris VandeVelde - Pierre-Edouard Bellemare - Ryan White

Nick Schultz - Mark Streit

Michael Del Zotto - Radko Gudas

Evgeny Medvedev - Luke Schenn

Steve Mason

Jason LaBarbera

Injured: Sean Couturier (upper body), Michal Neuvirth (upper body)

Scratched: Vincent Lecavalier, Brandon Manning

Status report: Foligno will play on the fourth line after sitting out Saturday against the Devils because of a lower-body injury. … Colaiacovo, who had eight points in 32 games with the Flyers last season, could play for the second straight game in place of Weber. … Neuvirth, who was placed on injured reserve Saturday, was a partial participant in the morning skate.

Who's hot: The Sabres' power play is 3-for-9 in its past two games. … O'Reilly has two goals and two assists in his past two games. … Simmonds has one goal and three assists during a four-game point streak.


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