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Ullmark to return against Capitals

Goalie will make 1st start since Jan. 28

by Jourdon LaBarber @jourdonlabarber /

Linus Ullmark will be back in goal for the Buffalo Sabres when they host the Washington Capitals tonight at KeyBank Center. 

It will be Ullmark's first appearance since he sustained a lower-body injury on Jan. 28. The goaltender has been practicing with the team since last Monday and dressed as Carter Hutton's backup in Philadelphia on Saturday. 

Jimmy Vesey will be back in the lineup in place of Michael Frolik, who will be a healthy scratch at forward. The rest of the lineup will remain the same from Saturday's game. 

The Sabres are looking to snap a six-game losing streak. They tallied 39 shots and 32 scoring chances against the Flyers but were held to one goal, their seventh straight game with two goals or fewer. 

Video: PREGAME: Krueger

"We went into the locker room after two periods in every single one of those games with a chance to win," Sabres coach Ralph Krueger said. "We didn't bring it over the line, so that's unacceptable and we need to increase the compete then down the stretch to make the difference but there are a lot of things to grab onto, above all the work ethic and the commitment here to take each game as an individual game and try to make something special out of each game day right now."


Scouting the Capitals

Alex Ovechkin has continued his ascent up the all-time goal scoring list since the Sabres and Capitals last met. He's four goals shy of passing Mike Gartner for seventh-most in NHL history (708). 

Ovechkin is only three goals shy of reaching 50 in a season for the ninth time in his career, which would tie a record shared by Wayne Gretzky and Mike Bossy. 
"It's crazy," Sabres captain Jack Eichel said. "Just impressive what he's done with his whole career and he doesn't slow down, ever. Honestly, it's a privilege to be able to say that you played against him at the same time. … It seems like he's on pace to do some historical things here and just to be a part of history is pretty cool."

The Capitals are coming off a 5-2 win over Pittsburgh on Saturday. Richard Panik (2+4) and Carl Hagelin (1+3) both enter the contest riding four-game point streaks. 

Braden Holtby will start in net for Washington.


Quick chemistry

Krueger liked what he saw from the newly formed trio of Victor Olofsson, Marcus Johansson, and Dominik Kahun against the Flyers. Shot attempts were in Buffalo's favor by a tally of 13-5 with the trio on the ice at 5-on-5. Kahun scored in the second period on a tic-tac-toe passing play set up by Olofsson and Johansson.

Video: BUF@PHI: Kahun one-times Olofsson's feed past Hart

The coach explained how that line presents a different challenge for opponents compared to the north-south game played by Jeff Skinner, Eichel, and Sam Reinhart. 

"Jack, the attack is much more linear and much more net attacking whereas the three of them right now have that east-west movement in their game and it makes them difficult to defend against, too," Krueger said. "So, we'd be excited if this works out to have two different forms of attacking lines. 

"They were strong in Philadelphia. They had multiple shifts in that second period where they had opportunity and then they ended up with a goal eventually. But that was the fourth shift in a row where they'd been in the O-zone and had grinding, long, offensive-zone shifts. It's funny how you then finally score and you're not surprised because they had actually built up to that moment. We hope to see that continue today."


Tune in

Coverage on MSG begins at 6:30 p.m. or you can listen to the game on WGR 550. Puck drop is scheduled for 7. 

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