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Sabres to start Johnson in goal against Lightning

by Joe Yerdon / NHL.com

LIGHTNING (1-0-0) at SABRES (0-1-0)

TV: SN, SUN, MSG-B

BUFFALO – The Buffalo Sabres will be without goaltender Robin Lehner when they face the Tampa Bay Lightning on Saturday and will be without him for at least a week.

Sabres coach Dan Bylsma updated Lehner's status after he sustained a lower body injury in the second period of the Sabres 3-1 loss to the Ottawa Senators on Thursday. It was reported on Friday that Lehner would have an MRI, but Bylsma had no update on the results.

"I have not received a report on [the MRI] this morning," Bylsma said Saturday. "My last report was pretty much the one we're standing at right now was this morning at nine so I haven’t heard more than that."

With Lehner out, Chad Johnson will start against Tampa Bay. The Sabres recalled Nathan Lieuwen from the Rochester Americans of the American Hockey League to replace Lehner. Buffalo also reassigned defenseman Jake McCabe to Rochester.

Sabres captain Brian Gionta will not play. He missed the season opener on Thursday with a lower body injury.

Tampa Bay will not make any changes to their lineup against the Sabres and Ben Bishop will make his second straight start. The Lightning were 4-0-1 against the Sabres last season, but Buffalo has a much different roster this season.

"It's not the actual players I'm familiar with, it's Dan [Bylsma]," Lightning coach Jon Cooper said. "Playing against Wilkes-Barre, playing against Pittsburgh, the way he plays in scouting [the Sabres] it's very similar. They fire pucks up ice, they chase, they put you on your heels; just the system he employed in Pittsburgh, it looks like he's doing the same thing here. His guys are skating and so we're familiar, especially our American Hockey League guys, are familiar with the system they play. Guys are skating and they're in your face, you've got to be aware of that."

Bylsma is looking for his first win as Sabres coach. He joined Buffalo during the offseason after spending five-and-a-half seasons with the Pittsburgh Penguins from 2009-2014.

Here are the projected lineups:

LIGHTNING

Jonathan DrouinSteven StamkosRyan Callahan

Ondrej PalatTyler JohnsonNikita Kucherov

Alex KillornValtteri FilppulaErik Condra

Vladislav NamestnikovBrian BoyleJ.T. Brown

Victor HedmanAnton Stralman

Matthew CarleJason Garrison

Braydon CoburnAndrej Sustr

Ben Bishop

Kevin Poulin

Injured: Cedric Paquette (lower body), Andrei Vasilevskiy (blood clot)

Scratched: Nikita Nesterov

SABRES

Matt MoulsonRyan O'ReillyTyler Ennis

Evander KaneJack EichelZemgus Girgensons

Marcus FolignoJohan LarssonSam Reinhart

Nicolas DeslauriersDavid LegwandJamie McGinn

Josh GorgesMark Pysyk

Mike WeberCody Franson

Carlo ColaiacovoRasmus Ristolainen

Chad Johnson

Nathan Lieuwen

Injured: Brian Gionta (lower body), Robin Lehner (lower body)

Scratched: Matt Donovan

Status report: Gionta continues to skate but is unable to play. … Paquette's injury is improving and Cooper said he could play Saturday if they needed him. He said Paquette will play during the Lightning's three-game road trip.

Who's hot: Garrison had two goals against the Philadelphia Flyers on Thursday including the game-winner in overtime. … Eichel scored his first NHL goal on Thursday.

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