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Johansson to make 1st road start in Arizona

Goalie has .910 save percentage in 4 appearances

by Jourdon LaBarber @jourdonlabarber /

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Jonas Johansson will make his road debut for the Buffalo Sabres against the Arizona Coyotes tonight at Gila River Arena. 

Johansson is coming off his first NHL victory in his last start, a 2-1 win over Winnipeg in which he made 25 saves. The rookie has posted a .910 save percentage in four appearances, all of which have come at KeyBank Center.

"He's coming off a really, really strong game against Winnipeg and we're excited to see him in action here today," Sabres coach Ralph Krueger said. "He just keeps adding value to the group the way he's working and the way he's studying the National Hockey League. He's excited every day and the team's ready to play hard for him today."

The Sabres are looking to rebound from a pair of tightly contested losses, both of which were tied entering the third period. They opened their four-game road trip with a 2-1 loss in Colorado on Wednesday, then fell 4-2 in Las Vegas last night. 

Krueger said the team began the day out with an outdoor activation and quickly refocused their attention to the Coyotes. 

"I love the spirit," he said. "I think our preparation month in and month out of the way we look through the different phases is really a game at a time and never stopping the growth, never stopping the learning. That gives us all a really good refocus on a game so quickly after such a painful loss. It's a good mindset. What we have to do is now find ways to finish those games.

"We have to learn to finish those games. We spoke about that last night. Is that another piece? It is, for sure. The management of games down the line, down the end when they're tied. We do really well protecting leads, but earning them late in games has been a deficit so may we begin with that today." 

Krueger said the Sabres will stay with the same forward lines and six defensemen from their game in Vegas. Here's how they lined up. 

68 Victor Olofsson - 9 Jack Eichel - 23 Sam Reinhart
95 Dominik Kahun - 90 Marcus Johansson - 13 Jimmy Vesey
53 Jeff Skinner - 27 Curtis Lazar - 17 Wayne Simmonds
28 Zemgus Girgensons - 22 Johan Larsson - 21 Kyle Okposo

62 Brandon Montour - 55 Rasmus Ristolainen
26 Rasmus Dahlin - 33 Colin Miller
19 Jake McCabe - 10 Henri Jokiharju 


Scouting the Coyotes

While the Sabres are less than 24 hours removed from their last game, the Coyotes have had three days to prepare since their 2-1 home loss to Florida on Tuesday. They're in the thick of a crowded race in the Western Conference, now two points out of the second wild card. 

The Coyotes took the first matchup between the two teams in Buffalo on Oct. 28, 3-2 in a shootout. They remain one of the league's premier defensive teams, ranked third in goals allowed per game (2.61) and sixth on the penalty kill 82.8.

Anti Raanta, who will start in net, ranks eighth in the league with a .921 save percentage. 


Tune in 

Coverage on MSG begins at 7:30 p.m. You can also listen to the game on WGR 550, with puck drop scheduled for 8. 

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