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Preview: Sabres at Stars

Goaltender Anders Nilsson starts for Buffalo; Antti Niemi goes for Dallas

by Sean Shapiro / NHL.com Correspondent

SABRES (20-18-9) at STARS (19-20-10)

8:30 p.m. ET; FS-SW, MSG-B, NHL.TV

 

Sabres team scope

Goaltender Anders Nilsson will start for the Buffalo Sabres after Robin Lehner won back-to-back games, against the Montreal Canadiens on Saturday and the Nashville Predators on Tuesday. "Part of it [is there] would be a couple weeks between starts for Anders if he didn't get this game," coach Dan Bylsma said. "The road trip, parents trip got both Robin and [Nilsson] a chance to start on this trip. And just with the [All-Star] break, how long it would be for both guys in between starts." Forward William Carrier will enter the lineup for Nicolas Deslauriers on the fourth line. The Sabres have won three straight games, all in overtime, including a 5-4 win against Nashville. "We did talk about it a little bit, maybe we want to try and win this one in regulation," Bylsma said. "We'll take this one anyway we can get it, if we have to get it in overtime we'll keep heading there." 

 

Stars team scope

Goaltender Antti Niemi will start for the Dallas Stars after Kari Lehtonen started the past three games. Niemi has been pulled in his past two starts. "A lot of times for goaltenders it's making that big save and feeling good about yourself," coach Lindy Ruff said. "Usually that's it. Get him some quality practice time, some quality practice and reps and focus on the fact for a good stretch of time he played really well at home for us." Forward Jiri Hudler will be a healthy scratch for the third straight game, with the Stars having gone with a bigger lineup, including a fourth line of Curtis McKenzie, Adam Cracknell and Brett Ritchie. "We play a simple game and we play well together," Cracknell said. "[McKenzie and Ritchie] are big and you have to think about them on the ice. I think that's made my job so much easier." The Stars are trying to end a three-game losing streak, but have a two-game point streak after losing to the Washington Capitals in overtime Saturday and the Minnesota Wild in a shootout Tuesday. "We've been trying to get on a run, we might have played two of our best games against Washington and [Minnesota]," Ruff said. "But we've missed too many opportunities on the execution side." 

 

Sabres projected lineup

Tyler Ennis - Ryan O'Reilly - Kyle Okposo

Marcus Foligno - Jack Eichel - Sam Reinhart

Evander Kane - Zemgus Girgensons - Brian Gionta

William Carrier - Cal O'Reilly - Matt Moulson

Dmitry Kulikov - Rasmus Ristolainen

Zach Bogosian - Cody Franson

Justin Falk - Taylor Fedun

Anders Nilsson

Robin Lehner

Scratched: Nicolas Deslauriers, Casey Nelson

Injured: Josh Gorges (hip), Johan Larsson (wrist, elbow), Jake McCabe (shoulder), Cody McCormick (blood clot)

 

Stars projected lineup

Jamie Benn -- Cody Eakin -- Patrick Eaves

Antoine Roussel -- Jason Spezza -- Tyler Seguin

Lauri Korpikoski -- Devin Shore -- Patrick Sharp

Curtis McKenzie -- Adam Cracknell -- Brett Ritchie

Esa Lindell -- John Klingberg

Patrik Nemeth -- Stephen Johns

Dan Hamhuis -- Jordie Benn

Antti Niemi

Kari Lehtonen

Scratched: Jiri Hudler, Julius Honka

Injured: Mattias Janmark (knee), Ales Hemsky (hip), Jamie Oleksiak (hand), Johnny Oduya (lower body), Radek Faksa (lower body)

 

Status report

The Stars and Sabres each had an optional morning skate. ... Faksa will miss his second straight game.

 

Who's hot

Eichel has six points in his past five games, and Franson has four points during a three-game point streak. ... Eaves has three points during a two-game point streak.

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