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Sabres at Kings preview

Buffalo trying for first win; Los Angeles defenseman Martinez set for season debut

by Dan Greenspan / Correspondent

SABRES (0-3-1) at KINGS (2-0-1)

10:30 p.m. ET; MSG-B, FS-W, NHL.TV


The Game

The Buffalo Sabres will try for their first win of the season when they face the Los Angeles Kings at Staples Center on Saturday, but they won't be at full strength.

Buffalo will be without forward Kyle Okposo, who's been dealing with the flu. Coach Phil Housley decided to give him a night off.

Okposo's absence is another blow to an offense that has produced nine goals through four games. Evander Kane, Jason Pominville and Jack Eichel have been the only Sabres to score.

Kane and Pominville each have four goals, with Pominville scoring twice in a 3-2 loss at the San Jose Sharks on Thursday. Eichel has one goal and four assists. The lack of production from the rest of the roster has Housley shuffling his lines in hopes of generating more offense.

The Kings have won four straight home games against the Sabres, all by 2-0. Jonathan Quick has been in goal for three of those wins.

Defenseman Alec Martinez was activated from injured reserve and will make his season debut after missing the first three games with a lower-body injury.


Players to watch

Eichel had two assists against the Sharks. He has three points (two goals, one assist) in four career games against Los Angeles.

Kings forward Dustin Brown has five points (three goals, two assists) in his past two games. He didn't score his third goal last season until his 17th game.


They said it

"They didn't want me anymore, so I think anytime a team doesn't want you, you want to prove them wrong and show them what they are missing out on." -- Sabres forward Jordan Nolan on playing against the Kings for the first time after six seasons with Los Angeles

"He's probably a lot more physical than teams realize. He just separates the man from the puck really well because he's got good feet." -- Kings coach John Stevens on Alec Martinez


Sabres projected lineup

Zemgus Girgensons -- Jack Eichel -- Jason Pominville

Evander Kane -- Ryan O'Reilly -- Matt Moulson

Sam Reinhart -- Johan Larsson -- Seth Griffith

Benoit Pouliot -- Jacob Josefson -- Jordan Nolan

Marco Scandella -- Rasmus Ristolainen

Nathan Beaulieu -- Matt Tennyson

Josh Gorges -- Jake McCabe

Robin Lehner

Chad Johnson

Scratched: Victor Antipin

Injured: Zach Bogosian (lower body), Justin Falk (undisclosed), Kyle Okposo (illness), Evan Rodrigues (hand)


Kings projected lineup

Alex Iafallo -- Anze Kopitar -- Dustin Brown

Tanner Pearson -- Jeff Carter -- Tyler Toffoli

Jonny Brodzinski -- Adrian Kempe -- Nic Dowd

Andy Andreoff -- Nick Shore -- Trevor Lewis

Derek Forbort -- Drew Doughty

Jake Muzzin -- Alec Martinez

Christian Folin -- Oscar Fantenberg

Jonathan Quick

Darcy Kuemper

Scratched: Michael Cammalleri, Kurtis MacDermid

Injured: Kyle Clifford (upper body), Marian Gaborik (knee)


Status report

Housley was optimistic Okposo would be available against the Anaheim Ducks on Sunday. … With Martinez back, the Kings assigned defenseman Paul LaDue to Ontario of the American Hockey on Saturday. Clifford is week to week after exiting in the second period of a 4-3 overtime loss to the Calgary Flames on Wednesday.


Stat pack

This is the first of back-to-back games for each team. Buffalo plays Sunday at Anaheim; the Kings host the New York Islanders. The Sabres were 8-8-3 in the first half of back-to-back games last season; Los Angeles was 6-9-1.

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