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Preview: Senators at Sabres

Defensemen Josh Gorges, Jake McCabe return for Buffalo; offense clicking for Ottawa

by Joe Yerdon / NHL.com Correspondent

SENATORS (27-16-6) at SABRES (20-20-10)

7 p.m. ET; SN, TVA Sports, MSG-B, NHL.TV

Senators team scope

The Ottawa Senators will try to end their three-game road trip on a high note after a 5-2 win against the Tampa Bay Lightning on Thursday. "We had two softer All-Star break games, before and after, and then I think we got our game back last game," coach Guy Boucher said. "We were hard, we didn't give much to the opponent, and we were good on both sides of the ice because we were hard and we want to make sure that we have that today again." Scoring hasn't been an issue recently for the Senators; they've scored 23 goals the past six games and have five in each of the past two. "Our identity, I think it's been said plenty of times, is that we're a defensive-minded team and that's what we're going to be, but we're capable of scoring goals and I think we've shown we have four lines capable of adding offense," forward Bobby Ryan said. "When you get breaks throughout the game, and that's when we're thriving right now… We're winning games on transition and all four lines are getting opportunities because of where we are on top of the puck." Mike Condon will make his 18th consecutive start.

 

Sabres team scope

The Buffalo Sabres will have defensemen Josh Gorges and Jake McCabe back in the lineup. Gorges missed the past 12 games because of a hip injury, and McCabe missed the past five after he injured his shoulder against the Detroit Red Wings on Jan. 20. "It's tough," Gorges said. "As a player you want to be out there, you don't want to be on the sidelines. This [injury] was difficult because I didn't know how to deal with it feeling good, feeling good for a while, but talking with the doctors knowing what was going on the risk of coming back too soon, it just wasn't worth it." The Sabres will be without forward William Carrier who has a knee injury that coach Dan Bylsma said will keep him out for a little bit. The Sabres recalled forward Justin Bailey from Rochester of the American Hockey League to take his place. Bailey has a goal in nine games with the Sabres this season. He has 19 goals and 10 assists in 39 AHL games. "If you've been watching his games in Rochester the last few, it's six, seven, eight times a game with his speed and with his ability to put pressure on teams with that speed he's a force," Bylsma said. "He's turned it into a lot of goals."

Senators projected lineup

Ryan Dzingel -- Kyle Turris -- Bobby Ryan

Zack Smith -- Derick Brassard -- Mark Stone

Mike Hoffman -- Jean-Gabriel Pageau -- Tom Pyatt

Chris Kelly -- Curtis Lazar -- Tommy Wingels

Marc Methot -- Erik Karlsson

Dion Phaneuf -- Cody Ceci

Mark Borowiecki -- Chris Wideman

Mike Condon

Andrew Hammond

Scratched: Chris Neil, Fredrik Claesson

Injured: Clarke MacArthur (concussion)

 

Sabres projected lineup

Matt Moulson -- Ryan O'Reilly -- Kyle Okposo

Marcus Foligno -- Jack Eichel -- Sam Reinhart

Evander Kane -- Zemgus Girgensons -- Brian Gionta

Tyler Ennis -- Nicolas Deslauriers -- Justin Bailey

Dmitry Kulikov -- Rasmus Ristolainen

Jake McCabe -- Cody Franson

Josh Gorges -- Justin Falk

Robin Lehner

Anders Nilsson

Scratched: Taylor Fedun

Injured: William Carrier (knee), Zach Bogosian (rib), Johan Larsson (wrist)

Status report

The Sabres sent forward Cal O'Reilly to Rochester after he cleared waivers Friday.

Who's hot

Smith has three goals and four assists during a five-game point streak. Hoffman has eight goals and four assists in the past 10 games. … Franson has two goals and four assists in the past six games. Kane has two goals and five assists in the past five games.

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