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Sabres look to future in home finale

Schneider, Rodrigues, Kasdorf to make Buffalo debuts against Blue Jackets @NHLdotcom

BLUE JACKETS (32-40-8) at SABRES (34-35-11)


Rookie forwards Cole Schneider and Evan Rodrigues and rookie goaltender Jason Kasdorf will each make their NHL debut Friday when the Buffalo Sabres play the Columbus Blue Jackets at First Niagara Center in Buffalo, N.Y.

Schneider and Rodrigues were recalled Thursday to join the Sabres for their final practice of the season. Kasdorf was signed to an entry-level contract by Buffalo on March 14.

Schneider, a native of Williamsville, N.Y., will be playing at First Niagara Center for the first time since he was a senior at St. Joseph's Collegiate Institute, competing in the Scotty Bowman Showcase. Schneider, 25, signed with the Sabres last summer after four seasons in the Ottawa Senators organization.

He was part of a seven-player trade between the Sabres and Senators on Feb. 27 and scored three goals and 12 points in 15 games for Rochester of the American Hockey League.

"He's paid a lot of dues to get here," Sabres coach Dan Bylsma told the Sabres website. "He's been a point leader and a leader for us [in Rochester] since the trade from Binghamton to here, and we want to see if he can do it at the NHL level, if he can rise up to the pace and the speed of the game."

Rodrigues, 22, signed a free-agent contract with the Sabres on April 22, 2015. He played with Sabres rookie center Jack Eichel at Boston University in 2014-15, and had 121 points (42 goals, 79 assists) in 146 career games spanning four seasons with the Terriers.

"He had a big part in my success last year," Eichel said of Rodrigues. "He's one of the reasons that our team was so good, and he was a big part of it."

Kasdorf, 23, was selected in the sixth round (No. 157) in the 2011 NHL Draft by the Winnipeg Jets. He was part of a seven-player trade between the Sabres and Jets on Feb. 11, 2015 that sent forward Evander Kane and defenseman Zach Bogosian to Buffalo and defenseman Tyler Myers and forward Drew Stafford to Winnipeg.

Kasdorf recently completed his senior season at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, where he finished 12-12-5 with a .931 save percentage and 2.30 goals-against average. He was named ECAC Rookie of the Year in 2012-13.

"I'm just really excited about this opportunity," Kasdorf told The Buffalo News. "I'm just going to do my best and give the team the best chance to win."

Blue Jackets left wing Scott Hartnell needs one goal for 300 in his career. Hartnell, who has 21 goals and 45 points in 77 games, hasn't scored in 14 games.

Goaltender Joonas Korpisalo will start.

The Sabres finish their season at the New York Islanders on Saturday. The Blue Jackets end their season at home against the Chicago Blackhawks on Saturday.

Here are the projected lineups:


Brandon Dubinsky - Boone Jenner - Cam Atkinson

Brandon Saad - Alexander Wennberg - Oliver Bjorkstrand

Matt Calvert - William Karlsson - Josh Anderson

Scott Hartnell - Gregory Campbell - Nick Foligno

Ryan Murray - Seth Jones

Dean Kukan - David Savard

Justin Falk - Dalton Prout

Joonas Korpisalo

Sergei Bobrovsky

Scratched: Rene Bourque

Injuries: Jack Johnson   (shoulder), Curtis McElhinney (knee), David Clarkson   (lower body), Fedor Tyutin (lower body), Cody Goloubef (oblique)


Zemgus Girgensons - Ryan O'Reilly - Cole Schneider

Marcus Foligno - Johan Larsson - Brian Gionta

Nicolas Deslauriers - Jack Eichel - Sam Reinhart

Evan Rodrigues - David Legwand - Matt Moulson

Josh Gorges - Rasmus Ristolainen

Jake McCabe - Zach Bogosian

Carlo Colaiacovo - Mark Pysyk

Jason Kasdorf

Chad Johnson

Injured: Robin Lehner (ankle), Tyler Ennis (concussion), Evander Kane (upper body), Cody McCormick (illness), Cody Franson (concussion)

Scratched: Hudson Fasching, Cal O'Reilly, Tyler Ennis, Casey Nelson, Linus Ullmark, Nathan Lieuwen

Status report: Rodrigues and Schneider will skate in place of Fasching and Cal O'Reilly. Ennis will miss the two remaining regular season games. … Bylsma told the Buffalo News after practice on Friday he feels Nelson and Fasching are "fighting the puck" and wants each of them to watch a game.

Who's hot: Saad has five goals and one assist in the past four games. … Ryan O'Reilly has four goals and three assists in the past five games.

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