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Johansson to return against Flames

Dahlin out indefinitely; Dea to make Sabres debut

by Jourdon LaBarber @jourdonlabarber /

Marcus Johansson will be back in the lineup when the Sabres host the Calgary Flames tonight at KeyBank Center. 

The Sabres will be without defenseman Rasmus Dahlin, who is out indefinitely with a concussion after taking an elbow to the head from Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Eric Cernak on Monday. Cernak, who was not penalized for the incident, received a two-game suspension from the NHL on Tuesday. 

Tweet from @NHLPlayerSafety: Tampa Bay���s Erik Cernak has been suspended for two games for Elbowing Buffalo���s Rasmus Dahlin.

"We said after the game that judgement will be made," Sabres coach Ralph Krueger said. "It's clear that it's been seen as a foul, it's a penalty, it's not allowed. And the length, it's not up to me to judge. We're just going to accept the result as it is.

"I've said it before, I'll say it again: You would always rather have the five minutes in the game because now the suspension doesn't do us any good. We'll just accept it now for what it is."

The team also announced injury updates to Vladimir Sobotka, who is out indefinitely after undergoing successful knee injury on Tuesday, and Evan Rodrigues, who is week-to-week with a lower-body injury. 

Krueger said the timetable for Sobotka's recovery is long-term.

"I never like to bookend an injury of that nature," he said. "Let's work with him and do everything we can and try and get him back. But it's definitely long-term, and we're sitting here somewhere in November.

"… We're really sad about it. Sobey was an amazing leader in how we want to play here. He was an example on video over and over again of playing the right way without the puck. So, we'll tap into him to help mentor some of the younger players here as he's injured and use his wealth of experience in that way."

Video: PREGAME: Krueger
Johansson has been out since Nov. 14 with an upper-body injury. He skated this morning on a line with Casey Mittelstadt and Jimmy Vesey. 

"I think everybody knows from day one that Marcus Johansson has been an important leader for this group," Krueger said. "Of course, we're pleased to have him back, not only for what he brings us on the ice and the roles that he fills and the added tool that he is in our game. It's what he brings off the ice and the calmness of his personality and the experience. It is definitely good to have Johansson back."

Jake McCabe will return to the lineup after sitting as a scratch in Tampa, which Krueger said was the product of a concerted effort to rotate defensemen as the Sabres navigate a stretch of five games in seven days. Colin Miller is expected to be scratched after playing on Monday. 

At forward, Jean-Sebastien Dea is expected to replace Curtis Lazar in the lineup and make his Sabres debut. Dea tallied team-leading totals in goals (7) and points (13) in 18 games with Rochester. 

Linus Ullmark will start in net. 


Projected lineup

68 Victor Olofsson - 9 Jack Eichel - 23 Sam Reinhart
90 Marcus Johansson - 37 Casey Mittelstadt - 13 Jimmy Vesey
53 Jeff Skinner - 22 Johan Larsson - 43 Conor Sheary
28 Zemgus Girgensons - 74 Rasmus Asplund - 15 Jean-Sebastien Dea

62 Brandon Montour - 55 Rasmus Ristolainen
19 Jake McCabe - 4 Zach Bogosian
6 Marco Scandella - 10 Henri Jokiharju

35 Linus Ullmark 
40 Carter Hutton

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