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Nylander moves to center as prospects prep for Bruins

by Chris Ryndak @ChrisRyndak / Sabres.com

Alexander Nylander's debut in a Buffalo Sabres uniform didn't go the way he had hoped and he'd be the first to admit it. Buffalo's first-round pick in this year's draft finished Saturday's 6-3 loss to the New Devils in the Prospects Challenge with no points, no shots and a minus-3 rating.

Rochester Americans coach Dan Lambert, who is leading the Sabres prospects from behind the bench, said after the game that Nylander didn't really seem to click with his linemates. So come Sunday morning, Nylander found himself in a completely different spot. The 18-year-old forward shifted from right wing to center and skated between Hudson Fasching and Nicholas Baptiste.

When asked about his performance the night before, Nylander paused for a moment or two before answering.

"I think I didn't play so well," he said. "We had a good practice today. We're looking to look good for tomorrow's game and we've just got to work harder and be better in all three zones."

Video: Nylander After Sunday's Practice

Lambert sees Nylander's ability to honestly assess his game as a very positive attribute.

"He knows he can play better and I think that's the main thing," Lambert said. "As soon as you ask him the question, 'How do you think you were last night?' the answer wasn't, 'Oh, I thought I was great,' you know? So you know that he's accountable and that's a big thing for a young hockey player."

WATCH: DAN LAMBERT INTERVIEW

Nylander said he played center a few years ago and that he's comfortable with the defensive zone responsibilities that come with the job. The extremely skilled forward will look to simplify his game and both he and Lambert hope the switch to center will get his feet moving more.

"I loved his practice two days ago," Lambert said. "I thought yesterday he could've played better. But we have to remember he's nervous too and he's got a lot of pressure.

"… Playing center, he's certainly going to be forced and expected to skate a little more than he did last night. Hopefully we'll see that tomorrow."

Jason Kasdorf is expected to start in goal when the Sabres will face the Boston Bruins on Monday at 7 p.m. at HarborCenter. Tickets are available for $10.

But first, the Bruins will take on New Jersey on Sunday at 7 p.m. Check out Sabres.com later tonight for a postgame recap.

MORE FROM THE PROSPECTS CHALLENGE

Check out Brian Duff's sitdown with 2016 sixth-round pick Brandon Hagel

Video: 1-on-1 with Brandon Hagel

We also caught up with Linus Ullmark after his start in Saturday's game. After the interview, it sounded like he was going to use the phrase "butt cheeks" more often.

Video: ULLMARK: After Practice

SUNDAY'S PRACTICE

48 William Carrier - 75 Matt Lane - 56 Justin Bailey
52 Hudson Fasching - 70 Alexander Nylander - 73 Nicholas Baptiste
71 Evan Rodrigues - 59 Cliff Pu - 86 Eric Cornel
72 Jean Dupuy - 74 Vaclav Karabacek - 85 Daniel Muzito-Bagenda
62 Brandon Hagel - 58 Giorgio Estephan - 83 Vasily Glotov

Defensemen: 67 Brady Austin, 79 Vojtech Budik, 64 Paul Geiger, 45 Brendan Guhle, 54 Brycen Martin, 51 Austin Osmanski, 53 Devante Stephens

33 Jason Kasdorf
35 Linus Ullmark

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