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Nilsson starts as Lehner's out with upper-body injury

by Chris Ryndak @ChrisRyndak /

GLENDALE, Ariz. - Anders Nilsson starts in goal tonight for Buffalo - his first game action since a 36-save winning performance back on Feb. 7, as the Sabres get set to face the Arizona Coyotes. 

Robin Lehner sustained an upper-body injury in last night's loss to Colorado and will not dress for precautionary reasons. Linus Ullmark has been called up from Rochester to serve as the backup. 

Lehner took a few hits in the crease during last night's game that led to the injury. Sabres coach Dan Bylsma points to one in the first period and two in the second, including the most noticeable collision when Tyson Barrie ran into Lehner and was called for goaltender interference 7:16 into the second.

Video: BYLSMA: Pregame Interview

"I'm concerned any time a player gets injured or hurt. Again, he didn't leave the game after the second period," Bylsma said. "He was dealing with a sore neck from the couple hits he got so it's more precautionary than anything at this point."

Faceoff is scheduled for 8:30 p.m. ET from Gila River Arena. The Tops Game Night pregame show starts at 8 on MSG. Dan and Rayzor will also have the call live on WGR 550.

Bylsma said it's too early to tell if Lehner will be ready for Tuesday night's home game against Nashville and that tonight's game was scheduled to be Nilsson's before the injury to Lehner came about.

The rest of the lineup is a gametime decision. Nicolas Deslauriers, a healthy scratch last night, will take the pregame warmup.

If the Sabres stick with the same forward and defensive combinations, the lineup will look something like this:

56 Justin Bailey - 90 Ryan O'Reilly - 21 Kyle Okposo 
9 Evander Kane - 15 Jack Eichel - 23 Sam Reinhart 
82 Marcus Foligno - 28 Zemgus Girgensons - 12 Brian Gionta 
26 Matt Moulson - 71 Evan Rodrigues - 63 Tyler Ennis 

29 Jake McCabe - 55 Rasmus Ristolainen 
4 Josh Gorges - 77 Dmitry Kulikov 
47 Zach Bogosian - 6 Cody Franson 

31 Anders Nilsson 
35 Linus Ullmark 

Bylsma also said we'll find out how the team responds to last night's tough loss. The Sabres currently have 62 points with 21 games remaining. They're seven back of Toronto for the second Wild Card berth and eight behind Boston for third in the Atlantic with a game in hand on the Bruins.

"It was disappointing not getting the two points in Colorado and knowing how important they are to where we're at," Bylsma said. "The challenge really is, we've talked about winning two out of three here for the next seven segments and we still have that opportunity with the game tonight here against Arizona and then going home against Nashville. 

"We should have disappointment in not getting the win last night, but we have to bounce back with our best effort and our best focus to get this win and try to win this segment."

Tonight's game also wraps up Buffalo's 12th of a league-high 19 sets of back-to-back games this season. The Sabres are 6-4-2 in the first game of back-to-back sets and 4-6-1 in the second game so far this season.

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