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Senators forward Ryan questionable against Sabres

by Joe Yerdon / NHL.com

SENATORS (20-22-9) at SABRES (16-35-3)

TV: RDS2, TSN5, MSG-B, BELL TV

BUFFALO -- Bobby Ryan, the Ottawa Senators' leading scorer, will be a game-time decision Tuesday against the Buffalo Sabres.

Ryan left the Senators' morning skate early and did not return. Ryan skated on a line with Mika Zibanejad and Clarke MacArthur.

"Cramped up," Senators coach Dave Cameron said. "He'll be a game-time decision. He just had a cramp and best to get off and be worked on so he'll be a game-time decision."

If Ryan can't play Jean-Gabriel Pageau would take his place at forward. Ryan has 14 goals and 37 points this season.

The Senators will have one certain change in the lineup as defenseman Cody Ceci will be a healthy scratch. Ceci has three goals and 11 assists this season but was a minus-4 in a 4-1 loss to the Columbus Blue Jackets on Saturday. Patrick Wiercioch will take his place.

"Everything you do is in the best interest of the player and the team," Cameron said. "And so you make some tough decisions but those are the two criteria we go by all the time, what's best for the player at this time and does it hurt the team and can the team survive it. Obviously it's an opportunity for someone else."

The Senators are looking to end a three-game losing streak and they’ll need to score more to do that. They have a combined three goals in their past three games and have lost 2-1 twice: against the New Jersey Devils on Feb. 3 and against the Washington Capitals on Feb. 5.

"Obviously we're not going to be able to play the same way as you do when we're feeling good about ourselves," Senators captain Erik Karlsson said. "We've got to be able to crash the net more and get the puck in there and hopefully get some goals and get us back into the rhythm we had earlier in the season. But at the same time we know what we have to do; it's just a matter of doing it and getting those lucky bounces once in a while. We just need to start with one and hopefully that will loosen us up a bit."

Robin Lehner will start in goal for the Senators.

The Sabres will make one change to the lineup; defenseman Andrej Meszaros will play and Tyson Strachan will be a healthy scratch.

"We weren't too happy with one part of our defensive corps last game," Sabres coach Ted Nolan said. "So Meszaros is going to get in. He's an experienced guy playing against his ex-team; you never know. So that was the reason why."

The Sabres lost 3-2 to the New York Islanders on Sunday and matched a franchise-worst 10 shots on goal.

"I think maybe we have too many generous guys on the team," Nolan said. "They think they can pass it to someone else in a better position. That doesn't work. But I think the simplest play is to throw the puck at the net. You never know."

Jhonas Enroth will start in goal for Buffalo.

Here are the projected lineups:

SENATORS

Milan Michalek - Kyle Turris - Mark Stone

Clarke MacArthur - Mika Zibanejad - Bobby Ryan

Mike Hoffman - Curtis Lazar - Alex Chiasson

Erik Condra - David Legwand - Chris Neil

Erik Karlsson - Marc Methot

Jared Cowen - Eric Gryba

Mark Borowiecki - Patrick Wiercioch

Robin Lehner

Andrew Hammond

Scratched: Jean-Gabriel Pageau, Cody Ceci

Injured: Craig Anderson (hand), Zack Smith (wrist), Chris Phillips (undisclosed)

SABRES

Chris Stewart - Zemgus Girgensons - Tyler Ennis

Matt Moulson - Torrey Mitchell - Brian Gionta

Marcus Foligno - Brian Flynn - Drew Stafford

Nicolas Deslauriers - Matt Ellis - Patrick Kaleta

Josh Gorges - Tyler Myers

Nikita Zadorov - Rasmus Ristolainen

Mike Weber - Andrej Meszaros

Jhonas Enroth

Michal Neuvirth

Scratched: Cody Hodgson, Andre Benoit, Tyson Strachan

Injured: Cody McCormick (blood clot)

Status Report: Phillips was described as having "wear and tear" Monday and will be out for about a week. ... Anderson is working his way back from a hand injury and did not make the trip.

Who's Hot: Foligno had a goal and an assist in his first game back Sunday against the New York Islanders. He had missed 19 games because of a broken hand. … Ryan has six points in the past six games.

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