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game preview

Penguins at Sabres preview

Sheary, Rodrigues face Buffalo for first time with Pittsburgh, which can gain in Metropolitan

by Heather Engel / Independent Correspondent

PENGUINS (38-21-6) at SABRES (29-29-8)



The Game

Conor Sheary and Evan Rodrigues will face the Buffalo Sabres for the first time as members of the Pittsburgh Penguins when they visit KeyBank Center on Thursday.

The Penguins acquired the forwards in a trade with the Sabres for forward Dominik Kahun on Feb. 24. Sheary had a goal and assist in a 7-3 win against the Ottawa Senators on Tuesday, his first points since his return to Pittsburgh, where he played his first NHL seasons from 2015-18.

The Penguins, 1-6-0 in their past seven games after going 8-2-1 in their previous 11, are in third place in the Metropolitan Division, three points behind the Philadelphia Flyers.

Center Nick Bjugstad will be a game-time decision after missing 55 of the past 63 games because of a lower-body injury.

The Sabres, who have lost four straight after going 5-1-0 in their previous six games, have defeated Pittsburgh twice this season and look for their first season series sweep against the Penguins since 2005-06.


Players to watch

Penguins center Evgeni Malkin has 16 points (six goals, 10 assists) in an 11-game point streak against Buffalo.

Sabres center Jack Eichel has nine points (six goals, three assists) in his past nine games against Pittsburgh.


They said it

"It'll be a cool experience being on the other side. Obviously, you kind of stared at the amazing things that he does when you're on his team. … But being on the other side you might not give him as much credit." -- Penguins forward Evan Rodrigues on facing Buffalo center Jack Eichel for the first time

"He's a spark plug. We think he has a strong skill set. We like his speed and his deception in the game. …. You can see his smarts. A good spirit, a good guy in the room. He's been an excellent addition here." -- Sabres coach Ralph Krueger on forward Dominik Kahun, who will play his first game against his former team since being traded


Penguins projected lineup

Jason Zucker -- Sidney Crosby -- Conor Sheary

Patrick Marleau -- Evgeni Malkin -- Bryan Rust

Jared McCann -- Nick Bjugstad -- Patric Hornqvist

Evan Rodrigues -- Teddy Blueger -- Sam Lafferty

Brian Dumoulin -- Kris Letang

Marcus Pettersson -- John Marino

Jack Johnson -- Justin Schultz

Matt Murray

Tristan Jarry

Scratched: Chad Ruhwedel, Juuso Riikola

Injured: Anthony Angello (upper body), Jake Guentzel (shoulder surgery), Zach Aston-Reese (lower body), Dominik Simon (upper body), Brandon Tanev (illness)


Sabres projected lineup

Victor Olofsson -- Jack Eichel -- Sam Reinhart

Jeff Skinner -- Curtis Lazar -- Wayne Simmonds

Jimmy Vesey -- Marcus Johansson -- Dominik Kahun

Zemgus Girgensons -- Johan Larsson -- Kyle Okposo

Lawrence Pilut -- Rasmus Ristolainen

Rasmus Dahlin -- Brandon Montour

Jake McCabe -- Henri Jokiharju

Jonas Johansson

Carter Hutton

Scratched: Michael Frolik, Colin Miller

Injured: Linus Ullmark (lower body), Tage Thompson (upper body), Vladimir Sobotka (lower body)


Status report

Tanev, a forward, will be a game-time decision.


Stat pack

Simmonds is one point from 500 in the NHL. … Crosby has 12 points (five goals, seven assists) in his past eight games against Buffalo. … Marleau needs one goal to pass Mike Modano (561) for sole possession of 25th place on the NHL all-time list.

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