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Preview: Flames at Sabres

Brian Elliott makes first start in five games for Calgary; Buffalo remains without Ryan O'Reilly

by Joe Yerdon / Correspondent

FLAMES (8-11-1) at SABRES (6-8-4)

7 p.m. ET; MSG-B, SNW, NHL.TV


Flames team scope

The Calgary Flames have won three of their past four games and are coming off a 3-2 win against the Detroit Red Wings on Sunday, but are looking to get more offense; they have scored 12 goals in the past seven games. Forwards Sam Bennett and Sean Monahan have each scored one goal in the past 11 games. "It's confidence and trying to get them into spots where they can succeed and also get them in spots and matchups in time where they can execute and keep the dialogue open," coach Glen Gulutzan said. Brian Elliott will make his first start since Nov. 12. He is 11-0-2 with a .943 save percentage in his career against the Buffalo Sabres. "We looked at everything when we made our decision," Gulutzan said. "We've played a lot of hockey here and [Chad Johnson] has had a real good go of it, but at some point, you have to make sure you're doing the right things and we're all excited for [Elliott] to come in because he's a good goalie and we're on a back-to-back and this is a good time for him to come in and help us."


Sabres team scope

Robin Lehner will be in goal for the Sabres after backup Anders Nilsson made 46 saves and stopped all three shooters in a 2-1 shootout win against the Pittsburgh Penguins on Saturday. "I think [starting Nilsson] was a consideration; we did think about it," coach Dan Bylsma said. "But again, as we play tonight and two nights later and then against Washington there's three more games this week. Anders earned another start in one of those games." Center Ryan O'Reilly (oblique) skated on Monday but will not play. "I feel real good, but unfortunately there's still a little bit of aggravation and I've got to be smart," O'Reilly said. "Unfortunately I won't be going tonight, but soon though." The Sabres are 1-4-2 in their past seven games, but were pleased with their previous game. "I think we had a certain amount of desperation and attention to detail defensively on the defensive side of the puck and we certainly didn't keep Pittsburgh off the board in terms of scoring chances or shots; they had chances," Bylsma said. "We're going on to the next game that just happens to be against Calgary; we cannot lose that focus in how we're playing."


Flames projected lineup

Sam Bennett -- Sean Monahan -- Troy Brouwer

Matthew Tkachuk -- Mikael Backlund -- Michael Frolik

Matt Stajan -- Hunter Shinkaruk -- Alex Chiasson

Micheal Ferland -- Freddie Hamilton -- Garnet Hathaway

Mark Giordano -- Dougie Hamilton

TJ Brodie -- Dennis Wideman

Brett Kulak -- Deryk Engelland

Brian Elliott

Chad Johnson

Scratched: Jyrki Jokipakka, Linden Vey

Injured: Ladislav Smid (neck), Kris Versteeg (groin), Lance Bouma (upper body), Johnny Gaudreau (broken finger)


Sabres projected lineup

Evander Kane -- Johan Larsson -- Kyle Okposo

Marcus Foligno -- Sam Reinhart -- Brian Gionta

Zemgus Girgensons -- Cal O'Reilly -- Matt Moulson

William Carrier - Derek Grant -- Cole Schneider

Josh Gorges -- Rasmus Ristolainen

Jake McCabe -- Cody Franson

Justin Falk --Taylor Fedun

Robin Lehner

Anders Nilsson

Scratched: None

Injured: Ryan O'Reilly (oblique), Dmitry Kulikov (lower back), Tyler Ennis (groin), Zach Bogosian (MCL sprain), Nicolas Deslauriers (knee), Jack Eichel (left high ankle sprain), Cody McCormick (blood clots)


Status report

The Flames held a team meeting but did not skate on Monday. … Gulutzan said Versteeg (groin) is very close to playing but won't play on Monday. … Bylsma said Eichel has gone up another level in his skating and is hoping to have him skate with the team "in short order." ... O'Reilly said he's aiming to play Wednesday when the Sabres are at home against the Detroit Red Wings.


Who's hot

Dougie Hamilton had three assists on Sunday and is one away from 100 for his career. … Fedun has an assist in each of his past two games.

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