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Ullmark to start at home vs. Leafs

Remainder of lineup will be revealed at game time

by Jourdon LaBarber @jourdonlabarber /

Linus Ullmark will start in net when the Buffalo Sabres open a home-and-home set with the Toronto Maple Leafs at KeyBank Center this evening. 

Ullmark has started four of the last five contests for the Sabres, stopping 115 of 126 shots in that span (.913). He's 5-5-2 with a .914 save percentage this season. 

Though Ullmark has shouldered a heavier workload of late, Sabres coach Ralph Krueger said the team still expects to utilize an even rotation with Carter Hutton moving forward. Hutton has already made 13 starts this season; Ullmark will make his 13th tonight. 

"It's an interesting situation," Krueger said after practice Thursday. "With all these back-to-backs, we always need two goalies, as we will this weekend, and it's just the order that's really deciding it. 

"And, yes, Linus has had a little bit more responsibility, but we're pretty well split on the season. And I think that that is the way we're feeling it's going to play out, there will eventually be more of split because of the schedule we have and the energy you need to play in goal at this level."

The rest of Buffalo's lineup will be revealed at game time. The Sabres will warm up with 19 skaters, leaving them the option to dress 11 forwards and seven defensemen or go with the traditional 12-6 lineup. 

The Maple Leafs have won three straight games since replacing Mike Babcock as head coach with Sheldon Keefe, who was formerly the coach of their AHL affiliate in Toronto. They sit third in the Atlantic Division with 28 points, two ahead of the Sabres. 

The Sabres, meanwhile, have led in each of their last four games but only have three points to show for them. They're looking to rebound from an overtime loss to the Calgary Flames on Wednesday. 

"I think we all see that we have to take advantage of opportunity," Krueger said. "here's been, since the Boston game, a real drive to create presence in front of the net of the opposition and there's been opportunity which we've left out because we haven't been getting pucks to the net and we're missing at bad angles and turning puck back the other way. 

"… I think we need to continue the path that we're on defensively. This commitment to everybody working together in both directions is high, and our final piece will be to get our power play firing, the motor of our offense, and then to use the opportunities we're creating with much more of a passion and more aggressiveness where then second chances and blue paint pressure would be the final component for us to get results."

Coverage on MSG begins at 3:30 p.m. Puck drop is scheduled for 4. 

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