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Hurricanes at Sabres preview

Haula returning for Carolina; Buffalo playing first game since NHL Global Series

by Heather Engel / Independent Correspondent

HURRICANES (10-7-1) at SABRES (9-6-2)

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

The Game

Erik Haula will play for the Carolina Hurricanes against the Buffalo Sabres at KeyBank Center on Thursday.

The forward, who is tied with Sebastian Aho and Dougie Hamilton for the Hurricanes lead with eight goals, had missed four games because of a knee injury.

The Hurricanes will try for their 10th straight win against the Sabres, dating to Dec. 17, 2016.

The Sabres, who have lost four straight games and are 0-4-1 in their past five, will play for the first time since losing both games against the Tampa Bay Lightning at the 2019 NHL Global Series in Stockholm on Friday and Saturday.

Players to watch

Hurricanes center Sebastian Aho has 11 points (five goals, six assists) in nine games against the Sabres.

Sabres forward Sam Reinhart has eight points (five goals, three assists) in his past eight games and has had back-to-back multipoint games.

They said it

"I just want to be out there helping the team win, especially when you're going through a tough stretch and you're not getting the results and you're sitting out. That's when it's the hardest." -- Hurricanes forward Erik Haula

"I've had stretches like this before. My second year I had a start to the year where I think it was well into November before I had a point. Things come and go with this game. … Our line, we've been getting better and better, and once we start chipping in on the offensive end that makes us a tougher team to beat." -- Sabres forward Jimmy Vesey, who has no goals and two assists in 14 games this season

Hurricanes projected lineup

Andrei Svechnikov -- Sebastian Aho -- Teuvo Teravainen

Ryan Dzingel -- Jordan Staal -- Warren Foegele

Nino Niederreiter -- Lucas Wallmark -- Martin Necas

Brock McGinn -- Erik Haula -- Brian Gibbons

Jaccob Slavin -- Dougie Hamilton

Joel Edmundson -- Brett Pesce

Jake Gardiner -- Haydn Fleury

Petr Mrazek

James Reimer

Scratched: Trevor van Riemsdyk

Injured: Jordan Martinook (core muscle surgery)

Sabres projected lineup

Victor Olofsson -- Jack Eichel -- Sam Reinhart

Jeff Skinner -- Evan Rodrigues -- Conor Sheary

Jimmy Vesey -- Casey Mittelstadt -- Curtis Lazar

Zemgus Girgensons -- Johan Larsson -- Kyle Okposo

Jake McCabe -- Rasmus Ristolainen

Rasmus Dahlin -- Brandon Montour

Marco Scandella -- Henri Jokiharju

Carter Hutton

Linus Ullmark

Scratched: Colin Miller, John Gilmour

Injured: Vladimir Sobotka (lower body), Marcus Johansson (upper body), Zach Bogosian (hip)

Status report

Martinook participated in the Hurricanes' morning skate but is not yet ready to return. … Johansson will miss at least the next three games. … Lazar will make his Sabres debut.

Stat pack

Gibbons will play in his 200th NHL game and Fleury his 100th. … Staal's next goal will be his 100th with the Hurricanes. … Dahlin will play his 100th NHL game.

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