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Sabres at Hurricanes preview

Ward to make second straight start for Carolina; Buffalo aims to win consecutive games

by Kurt Dusterberg / NHL.com Correspondent

SABRES (9-19-7) at HURRICANES (15-12-7)

7 p.m. ET; MSG-B, FS-CR, NHL.TV

 

The Game

Carolina Hurricanes goaltender Cam Ward will make his second consecutive start when the Hurricanes host the Buffalo Sabres at PNC Arena on Saturday.

Ward made 28 saves in Carolina's 4-1 win against the Nashville Predators on Thursday, and is 6-0-1 in his past eight games for the Hurricanes, who look for their fifth win in six games following a four-game losing streak (0-2-2).

The Sabres seek consecutive wins for the second time this season, following a 4-2 triumph against the Philadelphia Flyers on Friday. Buffalo has scored eight goals in its past three games after being held to two goals or fewer in 10 of its previous 14 games, including three shutouts.

Carolina has won the first two meetings this season, 3-1 at Buffalo on Nov. 18 and 5-4 in overtime at home on Dec. 15.

 

Players to watch

Sabres center Jack Eichel has 11 points (six goals, five assists) in his past nine games, and scored a hat trick against the Hurricanes on Dec. 15.

Hurricanes forward Jeff Skinner has four points (one goal, three assists) in a three-game point streak, and seven points (one goal, six assists) in his past six games.

 

They said it

"It's going to be a little tougher. After playing [Friday night], we're going to have to be a little simpler. Things aren't going to come as easy. We have to establish our game right off the hop, being physical, all those little details -- like winning the blue lines -- and we'll be in a good spot." -- Sabres center Ryan O'Reilly  

"We're going to have Ward who starts tonight, then we're going to have Christmas, all right? We'll have him start tonight and get today's win. That's what we're concerned about, then we will go from there." -- Hurricanes coach Bill Peters, on whether he feels Carolina has a clear No. 1 goaltender

 

Sabres projected lineup

Zemgus Girgensons -- Jack Eichel -- Sam Reinhart

Evander Kane -- Ryan O'Reilly -- Kyle Okposo

Benoit Pouliot -- Jacob Josefson -- Jason Pominville

Scott Wilson -- Johan Larsson -- Jordan Nolan

Marco Scandella -- Rasmus Ristolainen

Jake McCabe -- Zach Bogosian

Josh Gorges -- Nathan Beaulieu

Chad Johnson

Robin Lehner

Scratched: Evan Rodrigues, Justin Falk, Victor Antipin

Injured: Taylor Fedun (lower body)

 

Hurricanes projected lineup

Sebastian Aho -- Jordan Staal -- Teuvo Teravainen

Jeff Skinner -- Victor Rask -- Elias Lindholm

Brock McGinn -- Derek Ryan -- Justin Williams

Joakim Nordstrom -- Marcus Kruger -- Phillip Di Giuseppe

Jaccob Slavin -- Brett Pesce

Klas Dahlbeck -- Justin Faulk

Noah Hanifin -- Trevor van Riemsdyk

Cam Ward

Scott Darling

Scratched: Josh Jooris, Haydn Fleury

Injured: Lee Stempniak (lower body)

 

Status report

Fedun has not played since Nov. 14 and will miss his 19th straight game. … Stempniak has yet to play this season.

 

Stat pack

Kane has eight points (two goals, six assists) in his past eight games. … Ryan has five points (two goals, three assists) in his past four games. … The Hurricanes are the least penalized team in the NHL (6.4 minutes per game).

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