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Sheary to return to lineup in Los Angeles

Forward has missed 4 games with upper-body injury

by Jourdon LaBarber @jourdonlabarber /

LOS ANGELES - Conor Sheary will return to the lineup when the Sabres visit the Los Angeles Kings tonight at Staple Center. 

Sheary has missed the last four games with an upper-body injury. He tallied three points (2+1) in three contests on a line with Casey Mittelstadt and Jimmy Vesey, whom he'll skate with against the Kings.  

"Conor's like a sparkplug, just kind of darting in and out of situations, a hard-working guy, good skater, good skill set," Sabres coach Ralph Krueger said. 

"I think him coming into the lineup today will add some punch. He'll be working on our second power-play unit too, so we're looking forward to just seeing what he can bring."

The Sabres are less than 24 hours removed from their first regulation loss of the season, a 5-2 defeat in Anaheim. They led that game in the first period, 2-0, but felt they began to complicate their play with the puck as they allowed five unanswered goals. 

"We don't feel huge adversity here," Krueger said. "What we feel is a setback that shows us and underlines again how we need to play. We lost our way in the second period yesterday and it was too little, too late to be able to change the score. But I think everybody here was really honest today. The players have been outstanding in the meetings and very, very clear what we need to do here tonight.

"I've always said that we'll take a loss at the tail end of a game where we've done everything in our power to play within our system and our principles. We're going to have a night where the other goalie stones us or we're just not able to score or the other team is hot. We didn't accept the game yesterday for the fact that we didn't come close to playing 60 minutes the way we wanted. That would be our goal here tonight."

Carter Hutton will get the nod in net coming off a 25-save shutout of the Dallas Stars on Monday. He ranks among the top 10 of league goaltenders in every major statistical category, including wins (four), save percentage (.931), and goals-against average (1.74). 

Pregame coverage on MSG begins at 10 p.m. The puck drops at 10:30.


Scouting the Kings

Los Angeles is coming off a 2-0 home loss to the Carolina Hurricanes, their second in a row and fourth in six games. The Kings did go 4-for-4 on the penalty in that game, a turnaround for a unit that still ranks 27th in the NHL with 65-percent success rate. 

The Sabres will look to get their power play back on track after going 1-for-7 in Anaheim, which dropped their previously red-hot unit to second in the NHL. 

"More than anything we were just starting to look for perfect plays," Krueger said. "I think our power play worked so well lately and yesterday just clicking right off the hop, we lost our way in complexity and got away from trying to work towards also some ugly goals on the power play and those perfect plays led us to nothing. 

"Now, I think we've simplified again. We want to be a hard-working power play creating second chances here tonight. We need to win the specialty team game here."

Anze Kopitar leads the Kings with eight points (2+6), while Drew Doughty and Dustin Brown share the team lead with three goals each. Jack Campbell will start in net after stopping 21 of 22 shots in the loss to Carolina. 


Ritchie fined by NHL

The NHL Department of Player Safety Ducks forward Nick Ritchie was fined $4,121.86, the maximum allowable under the CBA, for roughing Vladimir Sobotka in Tuesday's game. Ritchie received a double-minor at the time of the incident, which occurred well after a whistle was blown in the second period. 

Krueger took issue both with Ritchie's hit and a hit from behind by Carter Rowney against Victor Olofsson that received a boarding minor. Rowney was not fined for his hit.

"Both of the situations - Sobotka and Olofsson - that's not courage from the other team at all when you're doing that after the whistle's blown," Krueger said. 

"I think there's a lot of respect in the game today and that shows a lack of respect. I'm really happy that at least one of the two scenes was dealt with in that way, for sure."

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