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Preview: Jets at Sabres

Top line carrying Winnipeg with point streaks; Sam Reinhart taking on bigger role for Buffalo

by Joe Yerdon / NHL.com Correspondent

JETS (19-19-3) at SABRES (14-15-9)

1 p.m. ET; MSG-B, TSN3, NHL.TV

 

Jets team scope

The Winnipeg Jets have won two straight games and six of the past nine. A key reason for the success is the line of Mark Scheifele, Nikolaj Ehlers and rookie Patrik Laine, each with a three-game point streak. Ehlers has a three-game goal streak and four points during that stretch, and has 11 points, including eight goals, in the past eight games. Laine has two goals and four assists, and Scheifele has two goals and two assists. "When they're going really well, they're virtually unstoppable," captain Blake Wheeler said. "That puck seems to be on a string. They don't need many opportunities, they seem to make the other team pay for the opportunities they do generate, and they play with a lot of speed. That's kind of what we're going through with our whole team. If we can get those guys clicking like that all the time, the rest seems to fall in order." Defenseman Jacob Trouba has a five-game point streak (one goal, six assists, which includes a shorthanded assist). "[Trouba's] play tells you he deserves some power-play time now," coach Paul Maurice said. "He's played exceptionally well. That game in Florida (a 4-1 win against the Florida Panthers on Wednesday), he was outstanding." Goalie Connor Hellebuyck will start.

Video: WPG@FLA: Ehlers hammers home a nice wrister

 

Sabres team scope

The Buffalo Sabres are looking to bounce back after a 4-3 overtime loss to the Chicago Blackhawks on Thursday when they blew a 3-2 lead late in the third period. Even though the Sabres got three out of four points on a two-game road trip against the Blackhawks and New York Rangers, they're not satisfied with that. "I think that's the problem here," center Jack Eichel said. "You're satisfied with three points; it's not good enough. You have a chance to get four and you should've gotten four. For us to sit here and go, 'Oh, we played two of the best teams in the League and we got three out of four,' well, no, that's not good enough. We had them on the ropes; we should've beat them for four points. That's all it comes down to." Sam Reinhart has two goals and seven assists in the past eight games; he moved back to center after Johan Larsson was injured Dec. 31 against the Boston Bruins and Ryan O'Reilly missed four games after an appendectomy. "I think his battle level has increased, his play down low, his support of the puck and breaking pucks out; we're asking our centermen to be down low in that battle position but also to be the guy breaking the puck out," coach Dan Bylsma said. "I thought [Reinhart's] done a much better job of that, he's done a good job of that. I think with Jack and Sam and Ryan down the middle, it just spreads out your players a little bit more in your lineup." Bylsma did not say which goalie would start. Anders Nilsson started the past two games with Robin Lehner the backup.

Video: BUF@NYR: Eichel taps a power-play goal past Lundqvist

 

Jets projected lineup

Nikolaj Ehlers -- Mark Scheifele -- Patrik Laine

Mathieu Perreault -- Bryan Little -- Blake Wheeler

Shawn Matthias -- Adam Lowry -- Joel Armia

Nic Petan -- Andrew Copp -- Drew Stafford

Josh Morrissey -- Dustin Byfuglien

Toby Enstrom -- Jacob Trouba

Ben Chiarot -- Paul Postma

Connor Hellebuyck

Michael Hutchinson

Scratched: Chris Thorburn, Mark Stuart

Injured: Tyler Myers (lower body), Marko Dano (lower body)

 

Sabres projected lineup

Marcus Foligno -- Jack Eichel -- Kyle Okposo

Evander Kane -- Sam Reinhart -- Justin Bailey

Zemgus Girgensons -- Ryan O'Reilly -- Brian Gionta

Nicolas Deslauriers -- Derek Grant -- Matt Moulson

Jake McCabe -- Rasmus Ristolainen

Zach Bogosian -- Cody Franson

Josh Gorges -- Taylor Fedun

Robin Lehner

Anders Nilsson

Scratched: Justin Falk

Injured: William Carrier (illness), Dmitry Kulikov (lower back), Johan Larsson (wrist, elbow), Tyler Ennis (groin), Cody McCormick (blood clots)

 

Status report

Carrier did not practice Friday. He missed the game Thursday with an illness. … Kulikov did not skate Thursday. He hasn't played since Dec. 27 because of a flare up of an injury he sustained during preseason.

 

Who's hot

Eichel has four goals and two assists during a five-game point streak. … Kane has eight goals in the past 13 games. … Little needs one point for 400 in the NHL; he has played 631 games.

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