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Youthful flavor working for Sabres, interim coach

by Chris Ryndak /

BUFFALO -- The Buffalo Sabres will look to make it three wins in a row while the New Jersey Devils hope to snap a three-game losing streak when the teams meet at First Niagara Center on Sunday at 7:30 p.m.

Thomas Vanek, Buffalo's leading scorer, will miss his sixth game in a row with an upper-body injury. He did not participate in the team's morning skate Sunday, but interim coach Ron Rolston said it was not due to a setback; Vanek was scheduled to have the day off. Rolston said Vanek would practice again Monday.

Buffalo's roster features seven players who played with the Rochester Americans of the American Hockey League at some point this season. Rolston also started the season with the Amerks before taking over behind the Sabres' bench on Feb. 20.

In Buffalo's 4-2 win against the Ottawa Senators on Friday, Luke Adam and Brian Flynn were among the goal scorers. Rolston said the familiarity between him and the players is in part helping the development of some of the younger ones who have been thrust into the lineup.

"I think it helps that guys understand -- the players who played for me in Rochester understand -- what I want so they have a better feel for what we're looking for and what we expect out of them, expectations," Rolston said. "But I think we're to the point where everybody understands that expectation now. But it's good for the coach to have that kind of relationship built up before with some of those players."

Ryan Miller is expected to start in goal for Buffalo against New Jersey's Martin Brodeur.

The Devils held an optional skate in which a handful of players attended. New Jersey is coming off a 2-1 loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday.

Here are the projected lineups for New Jersey and Buffalo:


Dainius ZubrusTravis ZajacDavid Clarkson

Patrik EliasAndrei LoktionovSteve Sullivan

Alexei PonikarovskyAdam HenriqueMatt D'Agostini

Ryan CarterStephen GiontaSteve Bernier

Bryce SalvadorMarek Zidlicky

Andy GreeneMark Fayne

Henrik TallinderPeter Harrold

Martin Brodeur

Johan Hedberg

Scratched: Adam Larsson, Jacob Josefson, Krystofer Barch, Tom Kostopoulos, Anton Volchenkov

Injured: Ilya Kovalchuk (shoulder)


Steve OttCody HodgsonNathan Gerbe

Marcus FolignoTyler EnnisDrew Stafford

Luke AdamKevin PorterBrian Flynn

John ScottJochen HechtPatrick Kaleta

Tyler MyersChristian Ehrhoff

Andrej SekeraMike Weber

Mark PysykAdam Pardy

Ryan Miller

Jhonas Enroth

Injured: Thomas Vanek (upper body), Ville Leino (upper-body muscle strain), Alexander Sulzer (lower body)

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