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Daniel Sedin to return as Canucks host Sabres

by Staff

SABRES (20-42-8) AT CANUCKS (32-30-10)


Last 10: Buffalo 2-8-0; Vancouver 4-6-0

Season series: This is the second and final game between the Buffalo Sabres and Vancouver Canucks. The Canucks beat the Sabres 3-0 in Buffalo on Oct. 17. That game featured Roberto Luongo in goal for the Canucks and Ryan Miller for the Sabres; both have since been traded.

Big story: After missing nine games with a hamstring injury, Vancouver left wing Daniel Sedin will play Sunday for the first time since March 2. Center Ryan Kesler, who's dealing with a knee injury, skated Saturday and will be a game-time decision.

"Danny is in. Not sure on [Kessler]. We will make a decision tomorrow," coach John Tortorella said after practice Saturday.

Team Scope:

Sabres: Buffalo, which snapped a seven-game losing streak with a 3-1 win against the Edmonton Oilers on Thursday, has started different goalies in each of its past three games: Jhonas Enroth, Nathan Lieuwen and Matt Hackett. Lieuwen will get the call Sunday and will make his second NHL start facing the team we cheered for as a kid.

"It's incredible. Obviously The past week has been a whirlwind for me but this is just pretty special. [The Canucks] were my team growing up so it will be cool to play in this building." Lieuwen said after practice.

It's the third game of a five-game road trip for the Sabres who have a league-worst eight road wins this season.

"Vancouver is one of those teams desperate for points so they are going to come at us hard and we have to make sure we come out ready," coach Ted Nolan said.

Canucks: The return of Sedin and possibly Kesler should provide a boost to the Canucks' hopes of making the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Each has 40 points, tying them for second on the team behind Henrik Sedin.

"We've been working extremely hard. You can tell by watching the games," Daniel Sedin said. "If we keep that going, we're going to get our share of wins."

The Canucks are coming off of a 2-0 win against the Nashville Predators on Wednesday and are seeking their second straight win. They haven't won back-to-back games since Jan. 18-21 and have dropped five points behind the Phoenix Coyotes, who own the second wild-card playoff position in the Western Conference. But they're not ready to concede.

"We definitely aren't counting ourselves out. We have a group in here that's not going to give up and we're taking it a game at a time and our next task is against Buffalo," forward Zack Kassian said. "It's a big two points. We can't afford to lose any more hockey games."

Who's hot: Sabres forward Cory Conacher figured in all three goals Thursday with two goals and an assist. Drew Stafford has a goal in each of his past two games. … Canucks forward Alexandre Burrows has five goals and eight points in three games. Henrik Sedin has five assists in three games. Defenseman Kevin Bieksa has assists in three straight games.

Injury report: Sabres forward Kevin Porter (lower body) is on injured reserve. Forwards Chris Stewart (ankle), Zemgus Girgensons (lower body), defensemen Alexander Sulzer (upper body), Tyler Myers (elbow) and Enroth (lower body) are out. Goalie Michal Neuvirth (lower body) is questionable… Canucks defenseman Andrew Alberts (concussion) and forward Mike Santorelli (shoulder) are on IR. Defenseman Christopher Tanev (finger) is out. Burrows (finger) left the game Thursday and will be out.

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