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Sabres' Hodgson, Canucks' Kassian face old teams

by Joe Yerdon

BUFFALO -- They may be opponents from different conferences, but the Buffalo Sabres and Vancouver Canucks have a lot in common.

Buffalo defenseman Christian Ehrhoff was a key member of Vancouver's Stanley Cup Final team in 2011 and forwards Cody Hodgson and Zack Kassian were traded for one another at the trade deadline in 2012.

"I'm not going to go back on the trade now, it's been like over a year and a half," Hodgson said ahead of the Canucks' visit to Buffalo on Thursday. "I'm happy here, I feel great as a Buffalo Sabre and I'm happy I'm going to be here the next six years."

Kassian started the season with a suspension from a high-sticking incident in the preseason. He said coming back to Buffalo is a positive thing for him.

"It'll be good. It'll be fun," Kassian said. "I'll have a lot of friends and family here so I'm looking forward to it."

Buffalo is coming off its first win of the season, a 3-2 shootout defeat of the New York Islanders on Tuesday. With a 1-6-1 record, the Sabres want to build on the success they had.

"I think there's a lot of reasons why we haven't been winning games, but a lot of them were close and one-goal games so we need to figure out a way to generate more offense," Hodgson said. "At the same time, we have to limit their scoring chances. I think [goalie Ryan Miller] has been great all year, so hopefully tonight and moving forward we can limit their scoring chances even more."

Sabres forward Zemgus Girgensons was injured Tuesday after being struck near his eye by a puck from a Tyler Myers shot. He hit the ice later in the morning skate Thursday wearing a full cage but he won't play Thursday.

"[The swelling] has gotten better," coach Ron Rolston said of Girgensons. "He's got a little slit there he can see out of. He won't be in there tonight."

Miller was the first goalie off the ice during Buffalo's morning skate and figures to get the start. Roberto Luongo will start for Vancouver.

"He's a great goalie. He's having a fantastic year so far," Luongo said of Miller. "It's going to be challenging for our forwards to make sure we get in that area to create some havoc around him."

Here is how the lineups could look when the teams take the ice Thursday at First Niagara Center:


Steve Ott - Cody Hodgson - Thomas Vanek

Marcus Foligno - Tyler Ennis - Drew Stafford

Kevin Porter - Johan Larsson - Brian Flynn

John Scott - Mikhail Grigorenko - Cody McCormick

Henrik Tallinder - Tyler Myers

Christian Ehrhoff - Mark Pysyk

Rasmus Ristolainen - Mike Weber

Ryan Miller

Jhonas Enroth

Scratched: Jamie McBain

Suspended: Patrick Kaleta

Injured: Zemgus Girgensons (eye), Ville Leino (rib), Nikita Zadorov (finger)


Chris Higgins - Henrik Sedin - Ryan Kesler

Daniel Sedin - Mike Santorelli - Jannik Hansen

Zack Kassian - Jordan Schroeder - David Booth

Tom Sestito - Brad Richardson - Dale Weise

Dan Hamhuis - Christopher Tanev

Jason Garrison - Kevin Bieksa

Ryan Stanton - Yannick Weber

Roberto Luongo

Eddie Lack

Scratched: Zac Dalpe, Andrew Alberts

Suspended: Alexander Edler

Injured: Alexandre Burrows (foot), Nicklas Jensen (upper body)

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