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Sabres at Penguins preview

Krueger to coach first game with Buffalo; Galchenyuk game-time decision for Pittsburgh

by Wes Crosby / Independent Correspondent

SABRES (0-0-0) at PENGUINS (0-0-0)



The Game

Ralph Krueger will coach his first game for the Buffalo Sabres when they open their regular season against the Pittsburgh Penguins at PPG Paints Arena on Thursday.

Krueger last coached in the NHL in 2012-13, when the Edmonton Oilers were 19-22-7 during a shortened 48-game regular season. The Sabres were 33-39-10 under coach Phil Housley last season.

Forwards Alex Galchenyuk and Brandon Tanev could debut on the second line for the Penguins. Galchenyuk, acquired in a trade with the Arizona Coyotes on June 29, is a game-time decision with a lower-body injury. He had 41 points (19 goals, 22 assists) in 72 games with the Coyotes last season.

Tanev signed a six-year contract with Pittsburgh on July 1 after having an NHL career-high 29 points (14 goals, 15 assists) in 80 games with the Winnipeg Jets last season.

Pittsburgh is 15-0-3 in its past 18 games against Buffalo and 8-0-1 in its past nine home games against the Sabres.


Players to watch

Sabres forward Jimmy Vesey will debut for Buffalo after being acquired in a trade with the New York Rangers on July 1. He had 35 points (17 goals, 18 assists) in 81 games with the Rangers last season.

Penguins center Evgeni Malkin is attempting to rebound from last season, when he had 72 points (21 goals, 51 assists), 89 penalty minutes and a minus-25 rating. He had four assists in three games against the Sabres.


They said it

"It seems like yesterday that I began. It's hard to believe it's five months now into the role, but it feels natural." -- Sabres coach Ralph Krueger

"Had a long offseason. You want to turn the page. Game 1 is the start of that. I think you get excited for it, and with a new group." -- Penguins captain Sidney Crosby


Sabres projected lineup

Victor Olofsson -- Jack Eichel -- Sam Reinhart

Jeff Skinner -- Marcus Johansson -- Vladimir Sobotka

Jimmy Vesey -- Casey Mittelstadt -- Conor Sheary

Zemgus Girgensons -- Johan Larsson -- Kyle Okposo

Rasmus Dahlin -- Colin Miller

Jake McCabe -- Rasmus Ristolainen

Marco Scandella -- Henri Jokiharju

Carter Hutton

Linus Ullmark

Scratched: John Gilmour, Evan Rodrigues

Injured: Zach Bogosian (hip), Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen (hip), Brandon Montour (hand)


Penguins projected lineup

Jake Guentzel -- Sidney Crosby -- Patric Hornqvist

Alex Galchenyuk -- Evgeni Malkin -- Brandon Tanev

Jared McCann -- Nick Bjugstad -- Dominik Kahun

Zach Aston-Reese -- Teddy Blueger -- Dominik Simon

Brian Dumoulin -- Kris Letang

Jack Johnson -- Justin Schultz

Marcus Pettersson -- Erik Gudbranson

Matt Murray

Tristan Jarry

Scratched: Chad Ruhwedel, Juuso Riikola, John Marino

Injured: Bryan Rust (undisclosed)


Status report

Olofsson and Jokiharju were recalled from Rochester of the American Hockey League on Thursday. ... Crosby will play after sustaining an undisclosed injury by taking a shot off his foot from Scandella in Pittsburgh's final preseason game Saturday.


Stat pack

Hutton is 3-0-0 with a 1.36 goals-against average, .956 save percentage and two shutouts in five games against the Penguins at Pittsburgh. ... Crosby has 11 points (five goals, six assists) in a six-game point streak against the Sabres. He has least one point in 35 of 39 games against Buffalo during his NHL career.

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