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Preview: Sabres at Flyers

Philadelphia defenseman Radko Gudas will make season debut; goalie Anders Nilsson to start for Buffalo

by Adam Kimelman @NHLAdamK / NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

SABRES (1-2-1) at FLYERS (2-3-1)

7:30 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CSN-PH, NHL.TV

 

Sabres team scope

Sam Reinhart will center the Buffalo Sabres' second line, between left wing Tyler Ennis and right wing Zemgus Girgensons. Reinhart has spent most of his time on right wing with centers Jack Eichel or Ryan O'Reilly, but he said he's looking forward to getting back to his natural position. "I'm comfortable going back and forth," Reinhart said. "… At times when I'm not playing my best I'm not moving my feet and [playing center] forces you to. I'm excited to get back into it and really force myself to start moving more, both with the puck and without." Coach Dan Bylsma said he saw Reinhart moving better at center during the preseason than he did when he played there last season. "I think you saw that in the preseason where maybe the first time you saw Sam skate through the middle of the ice, carry the puck, lug it up the ice," he said. "The position forces you to skate more and he needs to." Anders Nilsson will make his Sabres debut in place of Robin Lehner, who didn't make the trip because of an illness. Nilsson made 49 saves on 50 shots in two preseason games and said he feels ready, but he's hoping he's still a little nervous. "I feel like I usually play my best when I'm a little nervous," he said. "I think it's a good thing and usually a sign you're ready to go. Hopefully I get a little bit of that."

 

Flyers team scope

Defenseman Radko Gudas will make his season debut for the Philadelphia Flyers. Gudas served a six-game suspension from the NHL Department of Player Safety for a hit during a preseason game against the Boston Bruins. Gudas will replace Nick Schultz and play the right side on a pairing with Mark Streit. "We feel like [Gudas] going in, especially on a back to back (the Flyers lost 3-1 at the Montreal Canadiens on Monday), gives us some fresh legs and a fresh body coming back into the lineup," Flyers coach Dave Hakstol said. Gudas traveled and practiced with the Flyers during his suspension and did extra on-ice work with assistant coach Ian Laperriere. "I would hope that he'll just fit into the group and do a good job even thought he's coming off a layoff," Hakstol said. "Just keep his game simple, play a clean game with the puck and a simple game with the puck." The only other lineup change for the Flyers will be Michal Neuvirth starting in goal. It will be his first game since Oct. 18 against the Chicago Blackhawks, when he was pulled after allowing four goals on 16 shots in 25:04. Steve Mason, who started his third straight game against the Canadiens on Monday, made 30 saves. 

 

Sabres projected lineup

Matt Moulson -- Ryan O'Reilly -- Kyle Okposo

Tyler Ennis -- Sam Reinhart -- Zemgus Girgensons

Marcus Foligno -- Johan Larsson -- Brian Gionta

Nicolas Deslauriers -- Derek Grant -- Hudson Fasching

Josh Gorges -- Rasmus Ristolainen

Dmitry Kulikov -- Zach Bogosian

Jake McCabe -- Cody Franson

Anders Nilsson

Linus Ullmark

Scratched: Casey Nelson

Injured: Robin Lehner (illness), Jack Eichel (ankle), Evander Kane (ribs)

 

Flyers projected lineup

Brayden Schenn -- Claude Giroux -- Wayne Simmonds

Travis Konecny -- Sean Couturier -- Jakub Voracek

Nick Cousins -- Pierre-Edouard Bellemare -- Matt Read

Chris VandeVelde -- Boyd Gordon -- Roman Lyubimov

Andrew MacDonald -- Shayne Gostisbehere

Mark Streit -- Radko Gudas

Brandon Manning -- Ivan Provorov

Michal Neuvirth

Steve Mason

Scratched: Nick Schultz, Taylor Leier

Injured: Michael Del Zotto (lower body), Scott Laughton (lower body), Michael Raffl (upper body)

Suspended: Dale Weise

 

Status report

The Sabres changed two defense pairings, putting Kulikov with Bogosian and McCabe with Franson. Bylsma also added Kulikov to the point on the second power play. "You see him skating pretty well out there," Bylsma said, "and each game he's played he's earned more ice time. We need him to be on the ice more." … The Flyers placed Raffl on injured reserve and recalled forward Taylor Leier from Lehigh Valley of the American Hockey League. Raffl has missed the past three games because of an upper-body injury. Leier, 22, made his NHL debut last season and had three shots on goal in six games. He had one point in three AHL games this season. Hakstol said Leier will skate in pre-game warmup but likely won't play.

 

Who's hot

O'Reilly has three goals and two assists in his past three games. … Voracek has three goals and four assists during a four-game point streak.

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