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Morning Skate | Lineup notes entering Saturday's finale in Pittsburgh

Houser to make 4th straight start in goal

by Jourdon LaBarber @jourdonlabarber /

Michael Houser will start for the fourth straight game when the Sabres conclude the 2020-21 season against the Pittsburgh Penguins at PPG Paints Arena on Sunday. 

The Sabres will ice the same lineup as in their 8-4 loss to the Penguins on Thursday:

96 Andres Bjork - 23 Sam Reinhart - 68 Victor Olofsson
74 Rasmus Asplund - 37 Casey Mittelstadt - 72 Tage Thompson
53 Jeff Skinner - 24 Dylan Cozens - 25 Arttu Ruotsalainen
57 Brett Murray - 15 Riley Sheahan - 91 Drake Caggiula

54 Mattias Samuelsson - 55 Rasmus Ristolainen
26 Rasmus Dahlin - 10 Henri Jokiharju
78 Jacob Bryson - 33 Colin Miller 

Sabres interim coach Don Granato felt his young lineup got caught up in trying to match the Penguins in a high-scoring affair Thursday, which they were able to accomplish until midway through the second period. The Penguins broke a 3-3 tie and outscored the Sabres, 5-1, the rest of the way. 

Granato said he was pleased with the level of focus he felt at practice on Friday from a group looking to make the most of its final opportunity of the season.

"They absolutely want to keep playing," Granato said. "That was a problem [Thursday], because our guys believed they could score and they want to score … it was liked they jumped out there trying to score instead of actually reading and reacting to the game, because they're enjoying it, they're hungry still. 

"So. I do like that side of it a lot, that's what you want. And them believing in the next opportunity that lies in front of them and it's something they want. So that's a pretty good thing to have, especially where we sit, the fact that it's going into our last game."


Scouting the Penguins

Pittsburgh enters the contest with a two-point lead over Washington atop the East Division. The Penguins can clinch the top seed with a win providing the Capitals do not beat the Flyers in regulation.

Washington, meanwhile, would clinch the top seed with a regulation victory combined with losses by both Pittsburgh and Boston in regulation.

"We know we'll get a good game out of them, obviously, with a lot on the line," Granato said Thursday. "That's exactly what we need."

Maxime Lagace will his make his Penguins debut in goal. He has a .907 save percentage with AHL Wilkes-Barre/Scranton this season.


Tune in

Faceoff on MSG and WGR 550 is scheduled for 3 p.m. Pregame coverage on MSG begins at 2:30. 

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