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Sabres' Kane out; Maple Leafs' Lindberg debuts

Buffalo forward done for season; Toronto recalls prospect acquired in Phaneuf trade

by Joe Yerdon / Correspondent

MAPLE LEAFS (28-37-11) at SABRES (31-35-11)


BUFFALO -- The Buffalo Sabres host the Toronto Maple Leafs on Thursday at First Niagara Center without the services of forward Evander Kane, who will miss the remainder of the season.

Kane sustained an upper-body injury against the Detroit Red Wings during the Sabres' 3-2 loss on Monday. He missed the following game Tuesday against the Pittsburgh Penguins and will now be out for the final five games of the season.

"His upper-body injury is about a 2-3 week injury which will put him out for the remainder of the season," Sabres coach Dan Bylsma said. "You won't see him again."

Kane joins goalie Robin Lehner, who is also done for the season. Lehner had surgery on his right ankle Wednesday. It's the same ankle he sustained a high ankle sprain on Oct. 8 against the Ottawa Senators that kept him out of action for over three months.

With Kane out, Cal O'Reilly will stay in the lineup in his place. Goalie Chad Johnson will make his seventh consecutive start.

The Maple Leafs recalled forwards Kasperi Kapanen and Tobias Lindberg and defensemen Andrew Campbell and TJ Brennan from the Toronto Marlies of the American Hockey League on Thursday morning. Forwards Zach Hyman and Connor Brown as well as defensemen Rinat Valiev and Connor Carrick were sent to the AHL.

"Everyone saw the player transactions that we made," Maple Leafs coach Mike Babcock said. "It gives us a good chance to look at Lindberg, I haven't seen him before, and to talk to Kapanen again about his game and then reward two of our veterans in the American Hockey League. They've done a good job with our kids."

Lindberg, acquired from the Senators on Feb. 9 in the trade that sent former Toronto captain Dion Phaneuf to Ottawa, will make his NHL debut against the Sabres. He had six goals and 12 points with the Marlies in 19 games.

"It was amazing; an unreal feeling [to get called up]," Lindberg said. "I wasn't sure it was even real, first because April 1 is coming up. I was so glad when I realized I was actually coming here and playing my first game."

For Kapanen, it's his second recall to the Maple Leafs this season. He played four games between Feb. 29 and March 5 and had no points.

"He's got to compete," Babcock said. "You got to get on the inside; you've got to decide what kind of player you're going to be one day in the League. There's very few guys that get to be danglers and distributors, the rest of us got to get to work every single day, and he's going to be one of those guys and he's got to put his work boots on."

Forward Byron Froese will also return to the Maple Leafs lineup after he missed 15 games with a broken hand. Goalie Garret Sparks will start. Sparks is 1-0-1 against the Sabres this season.

Here are the projected lineups:

Milan Michalek - Nazem Kadri - Michael Grabner
Tobias Lindberg - Tyler Bozak - Kasperi Kapanen
Colin Greening - William Nylander - PA Parenteau
Brad Boyes - Byron Froese - Brooks Laich

Martin Marincin - Morgan Rielly
Jake Gardiner - Frank Corrado
Andrew Campbell - TJ Brennan

Garret Sparks
Jonathan Bernier

Injured: Leo Komarov (lower body), Peter Holland (upper body), Nikita Soshnikov (upper body), Matt Hunwick (sports hernia), James van Riemsdyk (foot), Joffrey Lupul (sports hernia), Stephane Robidas (knee), Viktor Loov (upper body)
Scratched: None

Nicolas Deslauriers - Jack Eichel - Sam Reinhart
Zemgus Girgensons - Ryan O'Reilly - Hudson Fasching
Marcus Foligno - Johan Larsson - Brian Gionta
Cal O'Reilly - David Legwand - Matt Moulson

Josh Gorges - Rasmus Ristolainen
Jake McCabe - Zach Bogosian
Mark Pysyk - Casey Nelson

Chad Johnson
Nathan Lieuwen

Injured: Evander Kane (upper body), Cody Franson (neck), Tyler Ennis (concussion), Robin Lehner (ankle), Jason Kasdorf (groin), Cody McCormick (blood clot)
Scratched: Carlo Colaiacovo

Status report: Bylsma has not ruled Ennis out for the season. He said he hopes Ennis can rejoin practice before the end of the season and possibly play before the season is over.

Who's hot: Kadri had a hat trick Tuesday against the Florida Panthers. … Ryan O'Reilly has a goal and two assists during a two-game point streak. Nelson has a three-game point streak with four assists in his first three games in the NHL. He's the first Sabres rookie to do that since Calle Johansson in 1987-1988.

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