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Preview: Sabres at Lightning

Tampa Bay eliminated from playoff contention; goalie Linus Ullmark could make season debut for Buffalo

by Corey Long / Correspondent

SABRES (33-36-12) at LIGHTNING (41-30-10)

7 p.m.: SUN, MSG-B, NHL.TV


Sabres team scope

The Buffalo Sabres will finish the 2016-17 season on the second half of a back-to-back. Buffalo is 1-4-0 in its past five games including a 3-0 loss to the Florida Panthers on Saturday. Center Sean Malone made his NHL debut, two days after playing for Harvard in the NCAA Frozen Four. Forward Marcus Foligno (knee) did not travel with the Sabres and will not play Sunday. Goalie Linus Ullmark was called up from Rochester of the American Hockey League and is in line to make his first NHL start this season.


Lightning team scope

The Tampa Bay Lightning were eliminated from Stanley Cup Playoff contention when the Toronto Maple Leafs defeated the Pittsburgh Penguins 5-3 on Saturday to clinch the second wild card from the Eastern Conference. It's the first time since 2013 that Tampa Bay won't be in the playoffs. The Lightning are 7-1-1 in their past nine games. "I think we can take [into next season] a lot of how we finished this season," forward Alex Killorn said. "Everyone wants to play in the playoffs but the season is a grind and there has to be more focus on that [as a whole]." With the Lightning out of playoff contention it is unlikely injured center Tyler Johnson, forward J.T. Brown or defenseman Jason Garrison will be in the lineup.


Sabres projected lineup

Evander Kane -- Ryan O'Reilly -- Brian Gionta

Matt Moulson -- Jack Eichel -- Sam Reinhart

Alexander Nylander -- Evan Rodrigues -- Tyler Ennis

Nicolas Deslauriers - - Sean Malone -- Zemgus Girgensons

Josh Gorges -- Rasmus Ristolainen

Jake McCabe -- Dmitry Kulikov

Justin Falk -- Zach Bogosian

Linus Ullmark

Robin Lehner

Scratched: Cody Franson, William Carrier, C.J. Smith

Injured: Kyle Okposo (illness), Marcus Foligno (knee), Johan Larsson (wrist/elbow surgery), Anders Nilsson (undisclosed)


Lightning projected lineup

Ondrej Palat -- Brayden Point -- Nikita Kucherov

Jonathan Drouin -- Vladislav Namestnikov -- Adam Erne

Alex Killorn -- Yanni Gourde -- Cory Conacher

Gabriel Dumont -- Greg McKegg -- J.T. Brown

Victor Hedman -- Jake Dotchin

Anton Stralman -- Andrej Sustr

Braydon Coburn -- Luke Witkowski

Andrei Vasilevskiy

Peter Budaj

Scratched: None

Injured: Steven Stamkos (knee surgery), Jason Garrison (lower body), Ryan Callahan (hip), Tyler Johnson (lower body), Cedric Paquette (lower body)


Status report

Forwards Joel Vermin and Michael Bournival were reassigned to Syracuse of the AHL, an indication Brown could play after missing three games with a lower-body injury. Brown was among Lightning players who took part in an optional morning skate.


Who's hot

Eichel has seven points (three goals, four assists) in his past six games. … Gourde scored two goals against the Montreal Canadiens on Friday and has six points (five goals, assist) in his past seven games. … Vasilevskiy is 5-1-1 with a .928 save percentage in his past seven starts.

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