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Holiday break helped Sabres beat the flu

by Joe Yerdon

TORONTO -- The Buffalo Sabres used the three-day holiday break to recover from a flu bug that forced the team to use 16 skaters in a 2-1 overtime win against the Phoenix Coyotes on Monday.

A full roster of players hit the ice during the morning skate Friday ahead of their game against the Toronto Maple Leafs (7:30 p.m. ET, TSN).

"They look a lot better [Friday] so that's good," Sabres interim coach Ted Nolan said. "Anytime you have a couple days' break, especially this time of year, it's good for your emotional spirits. So they came back in good spirits."

Nolan said he'll play newcomer Linus Omark on a line with Marcus Foligno and Ville Leino. All three players missed the game Monday with the flu. Omark was acquired from the Edmonton Oilers on Dec. 19 and has played one game with the Sabres.

"When I signed [with Edmonton] this year I wanted to play in the NHL," Omark said. "I wanted to get the opportunity right away but I didn't get it with Edmonton. So I'm glad that they traded me and I get a chance here to show what I can do."

Ryan Miller was the first goalie off for Buffalo and is expected to get the start.

The Maple Leafs took advantage of the break to rest, relax and get refocused after losing back-to-back games in shootouts and winning twice in their previous nine games (2-5-2).

"It was nice to have a break, physically and mentally," Maple Leafs forward Joffrey Lupul said. "It was a tough month for us record-wise and just schedule, travel-wise. So hopefully a couple days' rest is what we needed and we'll be able to put some wins together."

The Maple Leafs are 1-1-1 against the Sabres this season.

"You don't want to leave any points on the table at this point," Maple Leafs defenseman Cody Franson said. "We know the situation with standings and we're not safe by any stretch, we know that. … Buffalo has played well against us all year. These are big points."

Jonathan Bernier was the first goalie off and likely will get the start for Toronto.

Here is how the rest of the lineups look for both teams:


James van Riemsdyk - Nazem Kadri - Phil Kessel

Mason Raymond - Peter Holland - Joffrey Lupul

Nikolai Kulemin - Jay McClement - David Clarkson

Jerry D'Amigo - Jerred Smithson - Colton Orr

Carl Gunnarsson - Dion Phaneuf

Jake Gardiner - Cody Franson

Morgan Rielly - Paul Ranger

Jonathan Bernier

James Reimer

Scratched: John-Michael Liles, Mark Fraser, Frazer McLaren

Injured: Tyler Bozak (oblique), Dave Bolland (ankle), Trevor Smith (broken arm)


Matt Moulson - Tyler Ennis - Zemgus Girgensons

Steve Ott - Brian Flynn - Drew Stafford

Marcus Foligno - Ville Leino - Linus Omark

John Scott - Matt Ellis - Matt D'Agostini

Tyler Myers - Henrik Tallinder

Christian Ehrhoff - Mark Pysyk

Jamie McBain - Mike Weber

Ryan Miller

Jhonas Enroth

Scratched: Alexander Sulzer

Injured: Cody Hodgson (wrist), Cody McCormick (upper body), Kevin Porter (lower body)

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