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With deadline approaching, Sabres scratch Kane in Washington

by Jourdon LaBarber @jourdonlabarber /

WASHINGTON - With just two games remaining ahead of Monday's trade deadline, Evander Kane will be held out of the Buffalo Sabres lineup when the team concludes its road trip against the Washington Capitals on Saturday. 

Kane is due to become an unrestricted free agent at the end of this season. Other teams have sat potential trade assets in recent days to avoid the risk of injury, beginning when the New York Rangers scratched Rick Nash and Michael Grabner on Thursday (Grabner was later traded to New Jersey). 

Sabres coach Phil Housley said that Kane will still attend the game on Saturday.

"Management thought it was the best decision moving forward and the best decision for Evander," Housley said. '

Video: HOUSLEY: Pregame Interview

Benoit Pouliot will take Kane's place on the top line alongside Ryan O'Reilly and Sam Reinhart. Nicholas Baptiste, who skated as an extra forward in practice on Friday, will remain in the lineup while Jordan Nolan will be back in after sitting the last two games as a healthy scratch. 

Robin Lehner, 3-0-1 in his last four road games, will start in net. 

The Sabres have split their season series with the Capitals thus far, having won the first game in Buffalo 3-1 prior to losing their most recent matchup, at home last Monday, 3-2. The Sabres last won a game in Washington on Nov. 22, 2014, a 2-1 victory that required 43 saves from Jhonas Enroth. 

On the other hand, the Sabres are 5-0-1 in their last six road games and can use their early-season victory over the Capitals as a template for success.

"I think the first game we played Washington was [an example of] really good checking," Housley said. "You have to check well against this team and then you're going to have to score in some opportunistic manners. Power play and special teams will play an important role tonight."

The Capitals have lost two-straight games and fallen a point behind Pittsburgh atop the Metropolitan Division standings. They have acquired a pair of defensemen, Michal Kempny from Chicago and Jakub Jerabek from Montreal, since they visited Buffalo less than a week ago. Of the two, only Kempny will play on Saturday.

Coverage on MSG-B begins at 6:30 p.m. with the GMC Game Night Pregame Show, or you can listen live on WGR 550. Puck drop is scheduled for 7. 

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