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Canucks at Sabres preview

Girgensons, Gorges out for Buffalo; Markstrom to start for Vancouver

by Joe Yerdon / Correspondent

CANUCKS (2-3-1) at SABRES (1-4-2)

7 p.m. ET; SN360, MSG-B, NHL.TV 


The Game

The Buffalo Sabres will be without forward Zemgus Girgensons and defenseman Josh Gorges when they face the Vancouver Canucks at KeyBank Center on Friday. 

Girgensons sustained a lower-body injury during the Sabres' 5-4 overtime loss at the Vegas Golden Knights on Tuesday when he blocked a shot by Golden Knights defenseman Brad Hunt. Gorges is also out with a lower-body injury and did not practice Thursday.

Buffalo will attempt to avoid a 1-5-2 start, which would be its worst since it opened the season 1-7-0 in 2014-15.

Goaltender Chad Johnson will make his third consecutive start for the Sabres. He helped propel Buffalo to its first win of the season on Sunday with 25 saves in a 3-1 victory at the Anaheim Ducks and made 26 saves in the loss to Vegas. Robin Lehner, Buffalo's No. 1 goaltender, missed practice Thursday with an illness but will back up Johnson.

Goaltender Jacob Markstrom will start for the Canucks. He replaced Anders Nilsson in the first period of a 6-3 loss at the Boston Bruins on Thursday, after Nilsson allowed four goals, three on the power play, on 17 shots. Markstrom allowed two goals on 18 shots in 49:01.


Players to watch

Canucks rookie forward Brock Boeser has five points (two goals, three assists) in a four-game point streak.

Sabres center Sam Reinhart has scored a goal in back-to-back games after having no points in Buffalo's first five games.


They said it

"Our penalty kill wasn't great [Thursday]. Any time you give up four goals on the power play on the road you're not going to win too many hockey games." -- Canucks coach Travis Green after Vancouver allowed four power-play goals on eight chances against Boston

"He found his niche going back to the wing and was contributing. Going back to the middle, he's still going to be effective; he's going to play a 200-foot game. I really like the net-front presence he's provided for us on our power play." -- Sabres coach Phil Housley on center Sam Reinhart


Canucks projected lineup

Daniel Sedin -- Henrik Sedin -- Markus Granlund

Sam Gagner -- Bo Horvat -- Thomas Vanek

Sven Baertschi -- Alexander Burmistrov -- Brock Boeser

Derek Dorsett -- Brandon Sutter -- Jake Virtanen

Michael Del Zotto -- Alex Biega

Derrick Pouliot -- Christopher Tanev

Ben Hutton -- Troy Stecher

Jacob Markstrom

Anders Nilsson

Scratched: Michael Chaput, Erik Gudbranson

Injured: Loui Eriksson (knee), Alexander Edler (knee), Brendan Gaunce (shoulder)


Sabres projected lineup

Evander Kane -- Jack Eichel -- Jason Pominville

Justin Bailey -- Ryan O'Reilly -- Kyle Okposo

Benoit Pouliot -- Sam Reinhart -- Seth Griffith

Matt Moulson -- Johan Larsson -- Jordan Nolan

Marco Scandella -- Rasmus Ristolainen

Nathan Beaulieu -- Matt Tennyson

Jake McCabe -- Victor Antipin

Chad Johnson

Robin Lehner

Scratched: Taylor Fedun

Injured: Zemgus Girgensons (lower body), Josh Gorges (lower body), Jacob Josefson (lower body), Justin Falk (undisclosed), Zach Bogosian (lower body), Evan Rodrigues (hand)


Status report

Gudbranson skated with scratches and injured players Friday morning. He had a hearing with NHL Player Safety for boarding Bruins forward Frank Vatrano on Thursday. … Antipin will return to the lineup after being scratched the past four games. … Fedun was recalled from Rochester of the American Hockey League on Friday but is not expected to play.


Stat pack

Pominville (two goals, four assists) and Eichel (one goal, five assists) each has six points in his past four games. … Okposo will play in his 600th NHL game.

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