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Sabres embracing challenge of matchup with Lightning

Team hosts Tampa Bay to begin stretch of 5 games in 9 days

by Jourdon LaBarber @jourdonlabarber / Sabres.com

With wins in two straight games, the Sabres have already checked a number of boxes as they approach the middle of November. They're 6-2-2 in their last 10 games, marking their best such stretch since the end of the 2015-16 season. Their 6-4-2 October matched their best start since 2011. 

That success had been teased since the beginning of training camp, when players and coaches spoke of a newly formed culture to go with a revamped roster. It will be put to the test again as the Sabres begin a difficult nine-day stretch, starting with a home game against Tampa Bay on Tuesday. 

"We've got Tampa, let's not look too much further than that, but when you look at the next games coming up, we've got [five] games in nine nights against good opponents," Sabres coach Phil Housley said. "That's going to tell a lot about our team. 

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Thompson to join lineup against Vancouver

Forward will join a line with Berglund, Larsson

by Jourdon LaBarber @jourdonlabarber / Sabres.com

Tage Thompson will step back into the lineup when the Buffalo Sabres host the Vancouver Canucks at KeyBank Center on Saturday afternoon.

Thompson, a healthy scratch for the past four contests, will replace Zemgus Girgensons on a line with Patrik Berglund and Johan Larsson. Coach Phil Housley said the decision was based on the need to get the 21-year-old forward in the lineup, not any fault in Girgensons' game.  

"Larsson's line has been very good for us," Housley said. "I thought they dipped a little bit last game. But it's not indicative of the way they've played. It's just a matter of trying to get Tage in, trying to get him some games now. You don't want to sit him out too long."

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Beaulieu to return to lineup in Montreal

Defenseman will appear in first game since Oct. 30

by Jourdon LaBarber @jourdonlabarber / Sabres.com

MONTREAL - Nathan Beaulieu thought his season was off to a strong start when he blocked a shot in San Jose on Oct. 18, leaving him with an upper-body injury that would force him to miss the Sabres' game in Los Angeles two days later.

It just so happened that Beaulieu's ailment coincided with a hot run for the team. The Sabres went on to win their next three games and Beaulieu was left waiting for his turn to join the lineup. He's only appeared in one game since. 

The defenseman has impressed his coaching staff with his attitude and work ethic in the meantime. He'll be rewarded with a chance to play his former team when the Sabres visit the Montreal Canadiens on Thursday night. 

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Sabres to recognize Pominville ahead of rematch with Senators

Ullmark to start in net; Rodrigues returns to lineup

by Jourdon LaBarber @jourdonlabarber / Sabres.com

Jason Pominville was able to have his family in attendance for his 1,000th game in Ottawa on Thursday, a surprise gesture by Terry and Kim Pegula. Pominville's wife, parents and children were flown in and greeted him in the dressing room before the game. 

Now, he'll get a chance to celebrate with his extended family. The Sabres will recognize Pominville during a pregame ceremony prior to their rematch with the Ottawa Senators at KeyBank Center on Saturday afternoon. 

"When you play 1,000 games in this league, the best league in the world, it says a lot about the individual and the dedication to the game that he has," Sabres coach Phil Housley said. "I think the just the way his career went, he had to earn everything."

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Pominville set to play 1,000th game in Ottawa

Forward will have family in attendance for milestone game

by Jourdon LaBarber @jourdonlabarber / Sabres.com

OTTAWA - Jason Pominville appreciates the coincidental aspect of playing his 1,000th NHL game against the Ottawa Senators at Canadian Tire Centre, the same building where he scored the most memorable goal of his career some 12 years ago. 

If you're new to the program, Pominville went wide on Daniel Alfredsson in Game 5 of Buffalo's second-round series with Ottawa in 2006, cut across the net and scored the series-clinching shorthanded goal in overtime. 

The call from Rick Jeanneret has become a part of the franchise's all-time highlight reel. 

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Sabres let point slip away in OT loss to Flames

Hutton loses shutout with 55.3 seconds remaining in regulation

by Jourdon LaBarber @jourdonlabarber / Sabres.com

In the end, it took 36 shots and three bounces for the Calgary Flames to beat Carter Hutton. 

The Sabres goaltender was within a minute of completing a shutout when Elias Lindholm wound up and shot from the top of the left faceoff circle at KeyBank Center on Tuesday night. The shot changed direction three times: off the stick of Rasmus Ristolainen, then off the ice and finally off the stick of Matthew Tkachuk and into the net, up over Hutton's shoulder.

Tkachuk's goal tied the game with 55.3 seconds remaining in regulation. The Sabres were unsuccessful on a power play to begin overtime, setting the table for Johnny Gaudreau to score and clinch a 2-1 win for the Flames. 

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Rasmus and Rasmus expected to partner vs. Calgary

McCabe a game-time decision; Hutton to start in net

by Jourdon LaBarber @jourdonlabarber / Sabres.com

With Jake McCabe's status up in the air, Tuesday night's outing against the Calgary Flames could offer the first glimpse of an all-Rasmus pair on defense for the Buffalo Sabres.

McCabe, who has been skating with Rasmus Ristolainen of late, is a game-time decision due to an upper-body injury. In the event McCabe doesn't dress, Rasmus Dahlin is expected to skate alongside Ristolainen on the top defense pair. 

Call them what you will: Rasmus Squared, Rasmi, R2D2. In any case, the elder Rasmus seemed excited about the possibility following Buffalo's morning skate.

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Sabres return home looking for 3rd-straight win

Pominville approaches another milestone; Hutton to start in net

by Jourdon LaBarber @jourdonlabarber / Sabres.com

With three days of rest and preparation under their belt, Phil Housley isn't expecting the Buffalo Sabres to experience any sort of hangover from their five-game road trip when they return to KeyBank Center on Thursday night.
 
It will be Buffalo's first home game in two weeks, and a big one at that. The Montreal Canadiens come to town with points in five-straight games. Their 12 points rank third in the Atlantic Division, two ahead of the Sabres. 

"I think just with the opponent coming into our building - a divisional game, a big rivalry - I think that's going to be motivation enough," Housley said.

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Sabres wrap up 5-game road trip in Anaheim

by Jourdon LaBarber @jourdonlabarber / Sabres.com

ANAHEIM - Carter Hutton will be back in net for the Buffalo Sabres when they visit the Anaheim Ducks to conclude their five-game Pacific Division road trip on Sunday. The rest of the lineup will remain the same from their 5-1 win in Los Angeles. 

The approach will be largely the same as it was in that game, too.

"I believe we only gave up six even-strength chances against, so a lot of the same remedies into tonight although we're facing a very good Anaheim team that I believe is much faster," Sabres coach Phil Housley said. 

"They're going to try to establish their forecheck, they like to start fast, so we're well aware of that."

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Berglund to return in Los Angeles

Ullmark starts in net; Beaulieu day-to-day

by Jourdon LaBarber @jourdonlabarber / Sabres.com

LOS ANGELES - Linus Ullmark will start in net for the Buffalo Sabres when they visit the Los Angeles Kings on Saturday afternoon. Ullmark is coming off a 36-save shutout of the Arizona Coyotes in his season debut last Saturday. 

Sabres coach Phil Housley shuffled his lines and power-play units at practice on Friday and will stick with those changes as the team looks to rebound from losses in Vegas and San Jose. That includes Patrik Berglund and Johan Larsson stepping into the lineup at forward in place of Remi Elie and Tage Thompson.

Berglund was a healthy scratch for Buffalo's loss to San Jose on Thursday. Larsson has been scratched since making his season debut against Colorado on Oct. 11. They'll skate together on a line with Zemgus Girgensons. 

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