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Johnson to start for Sabres against Sharks

Buffalo goalie has played three games in February

NHL.com @NHL

SABRES (24-30-7) at SHARKS (32-21-6)

TV: 10:30 p.m. ET; SNE, SNO, SNP, MSG-B, CSN-CA, NHL.TV

The San Jose Sharks will attempt to square their home record and draw within four points of first place in the Pacific Division when they host the Buffalo Sabres on Friday at SAP Center.

The Sharks are two points behind the Anaheim Ducks for second place and six back of the Los Angeles Kings for the division lead.

"It's getting to the time of season where everyone is bringing their best game and starting to push," forward Joe Pavelski told the Sharks website after an optional morning skate.

San Jose is 11-12-3 at home this season, but 6-0-3 since Jan. 9. The Sharks have a stretch in March when they play nine of 10 games at SAP Center.

"We're in a great spot," coach Peter DeBoer told CSNBayArea.com. "We've done a lot of heavy lifting to get to this point and now we have to make sure we take advantage of it."

DeBoer shifted his lines over the final two periods of a 4-3 shootout loss to the Colorado Avalanche on Wednesday but didn't say if they would remain the same against the Sabres.

Goalie Chad Johnson will start for Buffalo, which opened a three-game road trip Wednesday with a 1-0 loss to Anaheim. Johnson has started twice this month as Robin Lehner has taken over the No. 1 job since returning from injury.

Here are the projected lineups:

SABRES

Jamie McGinn - Jack Eichel - Zemgus Girgensons

Evander Kane - Sam Reinhart - Justin Bailey

Marcus Foligno - Johan Larsson - Brian Gionta

Nicolas Deslauriers - David Legwand - Matt Moulson

Josh Gorges - Rasmus Ristolainen

Jake McCabe - Zach Bogosian

Carlo Colaiacovo - Mark Pysyk

Chad Johnson

Robin Lehner

Injured: Tyler Ennis (upper body), Cody Franson (neck), Ryan O'Reilly (lower body)

Scratched: Cal O'Reilly, Jake McCabe

SHARKS

Tomas Hertl - Joe Thornton - Joe Pavelski

Matt Nieto - Patrick Marleau - Joel Ward

Joonas Donskoi - Logan Couture - Melker Karlsson

Nick Spaling - Chris Tierney - Dainius Zubrus

Paul Martin - Brent Burns

Marc-Edouard Vlasic - Justin Braun

Brenden Dillon - Roman Polak

Martin Jones

Alex Stalock

Injured: Tommy Wingels (sprained left shoulder)

Scratched: Barclay Goodrow, Dylan DeMelo, Matt Tennyson

Status report: Wingels can skate and shoot pucks but isn't at full strength and there is no timetable for his return. "Getting better every day," he told CSNBayArea.com. "Something like this, it's tough to tell if you're going to be out a couple days or a couple weeks. It's just about hoping that it feels better every day. In terms of when I'm able to play next, I wish I knew. Hopefully it's on the shorter end here."

Who's hot: Spaling had a goal in his San Jose debut after being acquired from the Toronto Maple Leafs, where he scored in his final game. Spaling didn't have a goal in his first 34 games for Toronto this season.

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