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Sabres face Senators without Kane

Buffalo forward suspended for game after missing practice Monday

by Chris Stevenson / NHL.com Correspondent

SABRES (23-28-6) at SENATORS (25-26-6)

TV: 7:30 p.m. ET; Bell-TV, MSG-B, RDS, TSN5, NHL.TV

OTTAWA -- If the Buffalo Sabres are going to equal their season-high three-game winning streak with a victory against the Ottawa Senators on Tuesday, they will have to do it without their hottest forward, Evander Kane.

Kane is suspended for the game after missing practice Monday. Forward Johan Larsson will return to the lineup after missing the past four games with a lower-body injury. 

"It's something we've dealt with all year with injuries to key players and we're dealing with that with [forward] Tyler Ennis not being in our lineup as well," Sabres coach Dan Bylsma said. "It hurts to not have him and it hurts to not have Evander in tonight. He's starting to click with his goal scoring and he leads our team in shots and hits. He's started to find the back of the net, eight goals in his last 13 games. That's a big factor to not have and it's something we're going to have to replace." 

Larsson will play between Marcus Foligno and Brian Gionta. Zemgus Girgensons will move from center to left wing with Jack Eichel and Matt Moulson, though Justin Bailey could see some time in Moulson's spot. 

Goalie Robin Lehner will start for the Sabres. The former Senator made 34 saves in a 3-2 win Jan. 26 in his first game in Ottawa with a Sabres. 

Goalie Craig Anderson will start for the Senators, who have lost three games in a row and fallen eight points out of the second wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Eastern Conference. 

"We've got 26, 25 games left, and quite a few points to come back on, so we've got to start winning games and we've got to start winning them now," Senators forward Mark Stone said. "We need to find a way to string a few together, and anything can happen. Obviously last year we were in a worse situation, so you never know what can happen." 

The Senators were 14 points out of the playoffs on Feb. 10, 2015 and launched an unprecedented rally that landed them a berth. Coach Dave Cameron said he sees similarities with last season's team, with one big difference. 

"The biggest difference I see is we don't do it consistently enough, shift after shift, period after period, game after game," he said. "I still see great flashes in a game, but that doesn't do it now. We have to be all in for 60 minutes. I know it's a cliché, but that's our challenge every day. 

"You have to be able to block out the noise, that whatever is going on up there that's eroding your confidence or making you hesitate." 

Cameron said center Mika Zibanejad (illness) will be a game-time decision. Center Nick Paul, who was acquired from the Dallas Stars in the Jason Spezza trade, will make his NHL debut if Zibanejad can't play. 

Paul took the pregame skate Feb. 6 against the Toronto Maple Leafs when Kyle Turris was a game-time decision. Turris played the game. 

"I'm pretty excited," Paul said, "but obviously I was in the same situation last time so I have to keep an open mind, not get too ahead of myself, keep the nerves down, excitement down, and just play hockey the way I know I can." 

Here are the projected lineups: 

SABRES 

Jamie McGinn - Ryan O'Reilly - Sam Reinhart  

Zemgus Girgensons - Jack Eichel - Matt Moulson 

Marcus Foligno - Johan Larsson - Brian Gionta 

Nicolas Deslauriers - David Legwand - Justin Bailey 

Josh Gorges - Rasmus Ristolainen  

Mark Pysyk - Cody Franson  

Jake McCabe - Zach Bogosian  

Injured: Cody McCormick (blood clots), Daniel Catenacci (head), Tyler Ennis (upper body) 

Scratched: Mike Weber, Carlo Colaiacovo  

Suspended: Evander Kane  

SENATORS 

Ryan Dzingel - Kyle Turris - Bobby Ryan  

Zack Smith - Jean-Gabriel Pageau - Mark Stone 

Mike Hoffman - Curtis Lazar - Alex Chiasson  

Shane Prince - Nick Paul - Chris Neil  

Marc Methot - Erik Karlsson  

Dion Phaneuf - Cody Ceci  

Patrick Wiercioch - Chris Wideman  

Craig Anderson 

Andrew Hammond  

Injured: Chris Phillips (back), Clarke MacArthur (concussion), David Dziurzynski (undisclosed), Mark Borowiecki (upper body), Mika Zibanejad (illness) 

Scratched: None 

Status report: Borowiecki was injured against the Columbus Blue Jackets on Saturday, but is expected to be available Thursday when the Senators play the Carolina Hurricanes. 

Who's hot: Karlsson has four assists in his past three games. … Phaneuf has three assists in three games with the Senators. … Foligno has three goals and an assist in his past two games. … O'Reilly has four assists in his past two games.

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