PENGUINS (38-23-9) at SABRES (30-30-9)
7 p.m. ET; SN, MSG-B, ATTSN-PT, NHL.TV
The Pittsburgh Penguins will try to win their third straight game and could take over second place in the Metropolitan Division when they play the Buffalo Sabres at KeyBank Center on Thursday.
The Penguins are two points behind the New York Islanders, who host the Montreal Canadiens on Thursday. A victory and an Islanders loss in regulation will put Pittsburgh in second with 38 regulation/overtime wins.
The Sabres have lost five in a row (0-4-1) and are without center Jack Eichel, who will serve the second of a two-game suspension for an illegal check to the head of Colorado Avalanche forward Carl Soderberg on Saturday.
Players to watch
Penguins center Sidney Crosby has 17 points (eight goals, nine assists) in his past nine games.
Sabres forward Sam Reinhart has seven points (two goals, five assists) in his past seven games against Pittsburgh.
They said it
"Matt's had a pretty heavy workload. We're trying to watch that. We're trying to keep him at his best. Casey's been good for us. We think this is the right decision at this time." -- Penguins coach Mike Sullivan on goalie Casey DeSmith starting after Matt Murray played nine consecutive games
"You're going to go through stretches where things aren't going your way. You're not finishing as many chances as you'd like but you want to create as much as you can. If you keep creating, odds are that over the course of time it'll even out and things will start to go in." -- Sabres forward Jeff Skinner, who hasn't scored in 12 games
Penguins projected lineup
Jared McCann -- Sidney Crosby -- Jake Guentzel
Teddy Blueger -- Evgeni Malkin -- Phil Kessel
Dominik Simon -- Nick Bjugstad -- Patric Hornqvist
Joseph Blandisi -- Matt Cullen -- Garrett Wilson
Brian Dumoulin -- Zach Trotman
Jack Johnson -- Justin Schultz
Marcus Pettersson -- Erik Gudbranson
Scratched: Juuso Riikola
Injured: Olli Maatta (upper body), Bryan Rust (lower body), Kris Letang (upper body), Chad Ruhwedel (upper body), Zach Aston-Reese (lower body)
Sabres projected lineup
Jeff Skinner -- Vladimir Sobotka -- Jason Pominville
Conor Sheary -- Evan Rodrigues -- Sam Reinhart
Alexander Nylander -- Casey Mittelstadt -- Tage Thompson
Scott Wilson -- Johan Larsson -- Kyle Okposo
Rasmus Dahlin -- Brandon Montour
Matt Hunwick -- Rasmus Ristolainen
Marco Scandella -- Casey Nelson
Scratched: Zemgus Girgensons
Injured: Zach Bogosian (upper body), Jake McCabe (upper body)
Suspended: Jack Eichel
Bogosian is day to day. … Rust is day to day and getting close to a return. … Letang and Maatta skated in Pittsburgh and are making progress. … Aston-Reese is a longer-term injury but does not need surgery.
Skinner is one goal from tying his NHL career high of 37 set with the Carolina Hurricanes in 2016-17. … Bjugstad needs one point for 200 in the NHL.