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Preview: Hurricanes at Sabres

Carolina not concerned with long layoff following postponed game; Buffalo seeks to end losing streak

by Joe Yerdon / NHL.com Correspondent

HURRICANES (13-11-7) at SABRES (12-11-8)

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

 

Hurricanes team scope

The Carolina Hurricanes are playing their first game after a four day layoff and will play the Buffalo Sabres for the second straight game. The Hurricanes game against the Detroit Red Wings on Dec. 19 was postponed because of a cooling system issue at PNC Arena in Raleigh caused the ice surface to be unplayable. "We'll be good, we've been good here for a long time," coach Bill Peters said. "I expect us to be good here today and then we'll be good again tomorrow and then go into the Christmas break." The Hurricanes are 4-1-2 in their past six games. Derek Ryan, who was recalled from Charlotte of the American Hockey League on Nov. 11, has eight points in the past six games. "That's the goal when you're called up," Ryan said. "You don't want to be another guy with a jersey on, you want to play and contribute at this level. Obviously it's been nice to do that and contribute offensively… It's been good, I'm just trying to do what I've been doing my whole career and just contribute offensively and continue to be a factor." Carolina also has the best penalty kill in the League (91.3 percent). "Obviously when we break down you need your goaltender to be, if not the best penalty killer, but one of the best penalty killers," Peters said. "We've got a variety of guys who can [play the penalty kill] and take pride in doing it."

 

Sabres team scope

Buffalo has lost two straight games, each in a shootout, including a 2-1 loss to Carolina on Dec. 17. The Sabres trailed in each of those games only to mount comebacks and ultimately come up short. "Right now, we have to learn how to win from the start," coach Dan Bylsma said. "We're desperate to kind of come from behind, and we're doing a pretty darn good job of that. But I think you have to have an understanding of how we're going to win the game right from the start of the game, not wait for it to react." The Sabres have gotten a boost in their offense since Jack Eichel returned from a left high ankle sprain on Nov. 29 (eight points in 10 games). Evander Kane has scored a goal in two straight games and has six goals in the past eight games. "He's really been in the past two games our best forward," Bylsma said of Kane. "He's been a force with his speed, he's been a force with his physicality and he needed to be."

 

Hurricanes projected lineup

Brock McGinn -- Jordan Staal -- Elias Lindholm

Jeff Skinner -- Victor Rask -- Derek Ryan

Sebastian Aho -- Teuvo Teravainen -- Lee Stempniak

Joakim Nordstrom -- Jay McClement -- Viktor Stalberg

Ron Hainsey -- Justin Faulk

Jaccob Slavin -- Brett Pesce

Noah Hanifin -- Matt Tennyson

Cam Ward

Eddie Lack

Scratched: Ryan Murphy, Klas Dahlbeck, Andrej Nestrasil

Injured: Bryan Bickell (illness)

 

Sabres projected lineup

Matt Moulson -- Jack Eichel -- Kyle Okposo

Marcus Foligno -- Ryan O'Reilly -- Sam Reinhart

Evander Kane -- Johan Larsson -- Brian Gionta

Zemgus Girgensons -- Derek Grant -- Nicolas Deslauriers

Jake McCabe -- Rasmus Ristolainen

Dmitry Kulikov -- Zach Bogosian

Josh Gorges -- Cody Franson

Robin Lehner

Anders Nilsson

Scratched: William Carrier, Justin Falk

Injured: Tyler Ennis (groin), Cody McCormick (blood clots)

 

Status report

Ward will start in goal. Carolina activated Lack from injured reserve on Wednesday and he will back up Ward. Lack missed the past 14 games with a concussion. … Bylsma said his lineup would be a game-time decision. Falk and Carrier stayed on the ice late after the Sabres skated on Thursday, an indication that they will be scratched. ... Lehner will start in goal.

 

Who's hot

Ryan has three goals and five assists in the past six games. … Rask has a goal and six assists in the past five games. … Skinner has three goals and two assists in the past four games. … Kane has three goals and an assist during a four-game point streak. … Ristolainen has three goals and 11 assists in the past 10 games.

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