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Preview: Sabres at Ducks

Anaheim aims to climb in Pacific Division race; Buffalo 2-8-2 in past 12 games

by Dan Arritt / NHL.com Correspondent

SABRES (28-31-12) at DUCKS (37-23-10)

10 p.m. ET; PRIME, MSG-B, NHL.TV

 

Sabres team scope

The Buffalo Sabres, 2-8-2 in their past 12 games, are 10 points out of the second wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Eastern Conference with 11 games remaining. On Feb. 18, they had three more wins than losses and were one point out of the second wild card. Despite their recent struggles, the Sabres need to keep playing with determination, coach Dan Bylsma said. "That's our job as professionals to do that," he said after a 2-0 loss at the Los Angeles Kings on Thursday. "The games we've got left, the opportunities we have, we have to play just like we were in a playoff race, just like we were in the hunt. That's the job of all of us going down the stretch." If the Sabres start goaltender Robin Lehner at the Anaheim Ducks, it would mark the fourth time this season he has started back-to-back games, all since mid-January. Lehner is 0-3-0 in the second game of back-to-backs, most recently allowing five goals on 37 shots in a 5-1 loss to the Chicago Blackhawks on Feb. 19. Backup goaltender Anders Nilsson last played Saturday and allowed three goals on 12 shots before he was replaced by Lehner at the start of the second period of a 5-3 victory against the Columbus Blue Jackets. 

 

Ducks team scope

The Anaheim Ducks are 7-2-0 this season against teams that played at the Los Angeles Kings in the first half of a back-to-back. Faced with that situation again Friday, the Ducks need to capitalize, coach Randy Carlyle said. "You're going to have times when things are slanted in your favor, and you're going to have times when things are up against you," he said. "You have to take advantage of the situations that you're presented with, and then you have to overachieve in some of the situations where it doesn't look good. That's what good teams do. They find ways to get points in every situation that they're presented with." Anaheim is in second place in the Pacific Division, seven points behind the first-place San Jose Sharks, one point ahead of the third-place Edmonton Oilers and two points ahead of the fourth place Calgary Flames. The Ducks face a tough turnaround after facing the Sabres; they play at the Sharks on Saturday with a chance to close the gap on the division leaders. "Just focus on today because that's the most important thing," Carlyle said. "We don't want to get distracted by any schedule, anything that's happening down the road. We want to focus on what we can control and, again, the most important thing for us is to play well against the Buffalo Sabres here." Center Ryan Getzlaf needs one point for 800 in his NHL career.

 

Sabres projected lineup

Evander Kane -- Ryan O'Reilly -- Brian Gionta

Matt Moulson -- Jack Eichel -- Sam Reinhart

Marcus Foligno -- Evan Rodrigues -- Hudson Fasching

Tyler Ennis -- Zemgus Girgensons -- Nicolas Deslauriers

Josh Gorges -- Rasmus Ristolainen

Zach Bogosian -- Cody Franson

Jake McCabe -- Taylor Fedun

Robin Lehner

Anders Nilsson

Scratched: None 

Injured: Justin Falk (calf), Justin Bailey (foot), Kyle Okposo (rib), Dmitry Kulikov (upper body)

 

Ducks projected lineup

Andrew Cogliano -- Ryan Kesler -- Jakob Silfverberg

Patrick Eaves -- Ryan Getzlaf -- Rickard Rakell

Nick Ritchie -- Antoine Vermette -- Corey Perry

Jared Boll -- Nate Thompson -- Chris Wagner

Cam Fowler -- Kevin Bieksa

Hampus Lindholm -- Josh Manson

Sami Vatanen -- Brandon Montour

Jonathan Bernier

Jhonas Enroth

Scratched: Korbinian Holzer, Logan Shaw, Ondrej Kase

Injured: John Gibson (lower body), Simon Despres (upper body), Clayton Stoner (lower body)

 

Status Report 

Shaw stayed on the ice for extra work following the morning skate Friday, indicating he'll be a healthy scratch for the second straight game after appearing in the first 49 following his recall from San Diego of the American Hockey League on Nov. 24.  

 

Who's hot

Eichel has 19 points (seven goals, 12 assists) in his past 15 games. ... Getzlaf has nine points (three goals, six assists) in his past five games ... Rakell has five points (four goals, one assist) in his past five games. 

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