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Sabres at Devils preview

Mittelstadt set to return for Buffalo; Devils seek consecutive wins for first time since mid-January

by Mike G. Morreale @mikemorrealeNHL / Staff Writer

SABRES (28-22-7) AT DEVILS (22-28-8)

6 p.m. ET; MSG+, MSG-B, NHL.TV


The Game

Casey Mittelstadt is expected to return to the lineup when the Buffalo Sabres play the New Jersey Devils at Prudential Center on Sunday.

The rookie center, who has missed the past two games with a lower-body injury, was on the second line at practice Saturday. The Sabres begin a three-game road trip five points behind the Carolina Hurricanes for the second wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Eastern Conference.

The Devils will try to win consecutive games for the first time since Jan. 12-14. Cory Schneider is expected to start after earning a 5-4 overtime win at the Minnesota Wild in relief of Keith Kinkaid on Friday. It was Schneider's first regular-season win since Dec. 27, 2017, and ended his regular-season losing streak at 21 (0-17-4).


Players to watch

Sabres center Jack Eichel has 12 points (three goals, nine assists) in his past 11 games.

Devils center Nico Hischier has six points (one goal, five assists) in his past four games, and 10 points (four goals, six assists) in his past nine.


They said it

"We have to string some games together here. It's coming down to the homestretch. Consistency is something we've been up and down with this year. We definitely have to find that if we're going to give ourselves a chance." -- Sabres defenseman Zach Bogosian

"I wish [the win] happened a lot more recently, but it's good to get it. Everyone in this room's been awesome with me, just encouraging me and supporting me and keeping me up, so hopefully I can return the favor and just start playing some really good hockey consistently and get some more wins." -- Devils goalie Cory Schneider


Sabres projected lineup

Jeff Skinner -- Jack Eichel -- Jason Pominville

Evan Rodrigues -- Casey Mittelstadt -- Sam Reinhart

C.J. Smith -- Vladimir Sobotka -- Tage Thompson

Conor Sheary -- Johan Larsson -- Kyle Okposo

Rasmus Dahlin -- Zach Bogosian

Nathan Beaulieu -- Rasmus Ristolainen

Lawrence Pilut -- Jake McCabe

Carter Hutton

Linus Ullmark

Scratched: Matt Hunwick, Zemgus Girgensons

Injured: Marco Scandella (undisclosed)


Devils projected lineup

Marcus Johansson -- Nico Hischier -- Jesper Bratt

Miles Wood -- Travis Zajac -- Kyle Palmieri

Kenny Agostino -- Kevin Rooney -- Joey Anderson

Drew Stafford -- Brett Seney -- Kurtis Gabriel

Andy Greene -- Damon Severson

Mirco Mueller -- Eric Gryba

Will Butcher -- Ben Lovejoy

Cory Schneider

Keith Kinkaid

Scratched: None

Injured: Taylor Hall (lower body), Sami Vatanen (concussion), Stefan Noesen (lower body), Blake Coleman (upper body), Pavel Zacha (upper body)


Status report

Scandella is being evaluated and could join the team later in the trip. Okposo was held out of practice as a precaution. ... The Devils did not practice Saturday.


Stat pack

Skinner has four points (three goals, one assist) in a three-game point streak, and eight points (five goals, three assists) in his past seven. ... Johansson has five points (three goals, two assists) in his past four games, and 10 points (five goals, five assists) in his past 11.

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