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Hurricanes at Sabres preview

Carolina finishes six-game road trip; Johnson in goal for Buffalo

by Joe Yerdon / Correspondent

HURRICANES (12-11-7) at SABRES (8-18-6)

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


The Game

Backup goaltender Chad Johnson will start when the Buffalo Sabres face the Carolina Hurricanes at KeyBank Center on Friday.

Johnson hasn't played since Dec. 2, when the Sabres lost 5-1 to the Pittsburgh Penguins. Robin Lehner has played the past five games, including a 2-1 loss at the Philadelphia Flyers on Thursday.

The Sabres could get defenseman Nathan Beaulieu back in the lineup. Beaulieu has missed the past five games with an illness in which he lost 10 pounds. The Sabres did not skate Friday, but Beaulieu said he was feeling much better. Coach Phil Housley said his lineup will be a game-time decision.

The Hurricanes are 1-2-2 entering the finale of a six-game road trip. They are coming off a 3-2 shootout win against the Vegas Golden Knights on Tuesday.

Carolina did not skate Friday. Coach Bill Peters told the Hurricanes website on Thursday he hadn't decided whether Scott Darling or Cam Ward would start. Ward earned his 300th NHL victory against Vegas. This is the first of back-to-back games for Carolina, which hosts the Columbus Blue Jackets on Saturday.


Players to watch

Hurricanes forward Jeff Skinner has three assists in the past two games. He has scored 11 goals in 22 games against Buffalo.

Sabres left wing Evander Kane has five points in the past six games (two goals, three assists).


They said it

"We're looking at some different ways to generate some 5-on-5 offense; always looking to try and be solution-based. Not a lot of opportunity to practice in this League so if you're looking to do some things, you've got to do it in practice." -- Hurricanes coach Bill Peters on possible line changes

"You have to be hard on them, be physical. You can't turn off them as a group, especially their [defensemen], you've got to stay on them. It's about being hard in the battle and trying to possess the puck and try to get pucks to the net." -- Sabres left wing Evander Kane on how to disrupt Carolina's puck- possession game


Hurricanes projected lineup

Sebastian Aho -- Jordan Staal -- Teuvo Teravainen

Jeff Skinner -- Derek Ryan -- Justin Williams

Brock McGinn -- Victor Rask -- Elias Lindholm

Joakim Nordstrom -- Marcus Kruger -- Josh Jooris

Jaccob Slavin -- Brett Pesce

Haydn Fleury -- Justin Faulk

Noah Hanifin -- Trevor van Riemsdyk

Scott Darling

Cam Ward

Scratched: Klas Dahlbeck, Phillip Di Giuseppe

Injured: Lee Stempniak (upper body)


Sabres projected lineup

Benoit Pouliot -- Jack Eichel -- Jason Pominville

Zemgus Girgensons -- Ryan O'Reilly -- Kyle Okposo

Evander Kane -- Evan Rodrigues -- Sam Reinhart

Scott Wilson -- Johan Larsson -- Jordan Nolan

Marco Scandella -- Rasmus Ristolainen

Nathan Beaulieu -- Zach Bogosian

Jake McCabe -- Justin Falk

Chad Johnson

Robin Lehner

Scratched: Josh Gorges, Victor Antipin

Injured: Jacob Josefson (ankle), Taylor Fedun (lower body)


Status update

Josefson skated again on Friday but is still week to week.


Stat pack

Faulk needs one point for 200 in his NHL career. Carolina is first in the NHL in shots on goal per game (35.2) and in fewest shots against per game (28.9). … Buffalo has scored one goal in five of Johnson's last six starts.

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