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Eichel's status vs. Kings will be a game-time decision

Ullmark will start in net; rest of lineup will be determined after warmups

by Jourdon LaBarber @jourdonlabarber /

Jack Eichel and Evan Rodrigues will be game-time decisions for the Buffalo Sabres' meeting with the Los Angeles Kings at KeyBank Center this afternoon. 

Sabres coach Ralph Krueger said the team will warm up with 12 forwards and seven defensemen and then make the final decision on the lineup. Eichel and Rodrigues both practiced on Friday after sustaining injuries in Philadelphia on Thursday night. 

Eichel missed the entire game against the Flyers with an upper-body injury, which evolved during the pregame warmup. Rodrigues left after taking a shot off the back of his left leg early in the third period. 

Tweet from @BuffaloSabres: We're live with Head Coach Ralph Krueger ahead of today's tilt with the Kings.

The Sabres will be without Johan Larsson, who left the game in Philadelphia with an upper-body injury. Curtis Lazar was recalled Sunday to round out the 12-man forward group. 

Buffalo is looking to rebound from a 6-1 loss in the absence of its captain, which began with Philadelphia taking a 3-0 first-period lead. The Sabres will look to establish themselves early as they return home, where they're 10-3-3 this season. 

"We've had a couple of games that were disappointing from the way we entered the games, so I think entering this game properly and showing Sabres hockey right off the bat is certainly something we want to get back to here real quick," Krueger said. 

"The reactions in general this season have been good in so far as we've been constructive off of difficult days like we had in Philadelphia. That's what we feel has happened here yesterday and today. The language is good, the conversations are good, the spirit is high, and I'm certain we're going to have a strong reaction today."

Linus Ullmark will start in net for the Sabres.


Scouting the Kings

It will be the second and final meeting of the season between the Sabres and Kings. The Sabres won 3-0 in Los Angeles on Oct. 17. 

Though the Kings remain second-last in the Western Conference, they're 4-0-2 in their last six games. Jeff Carter enters the contest on a five-game point streak, with three goals and two assists in that span.

"They just look a lot more connected right now," Krueger said. "Watching their last few games, there's a real aggressive forecheck going on, their net pressure out of that forecheck is extreme and they have a skilled defensive group that are quite involved in the offense and of course they've got that veteran experience where, once they get some momentum going, they're dangerous. 

"It's important to neutralize that offensive attack early and to play an aggressive defensive game against them."


Who's hot? 

•   Rasmus Dahlin has points in four straight games since returning from a concussion on Dec. 12. He has a goal and four assists in that span. 

•   Victor Olofsson extended his point streak to five games with a power-play goal on Saturday. He's recorded 23 points (9+14) in 21 games, including two-point performances in five of the team's last nine games.


Tune in 

Coverage on MSG begins at 12:30 p.m., or you can listen to the game on WGR 550. Puck drop is scheduled for 1. 

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