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Ullmark to start as Sabres play finale in Tampa

by Jourdon LaBarber @jourdonlabarber / Sabres.com

TAMPA - For the second season in a row, the Buffalo Sabres will conclude their season with Linus Ullmark in net. The second-year goalie will make his season debut when the Sabres play their finale against the Tampa Bay Lightning at Amalie Arena on Sunday evening. 

Ullmark made his last NHL start exactly one year ago, when he made 21 saves in a 4-3 win for the Sabres in their 2015-16 season finale against the Islanders in Brooklyn. Prior to that, he made 19 starts while Robin Lehner nursed a high-ankle sprain to begin the season.

This season, he's been a workhorse for the Rochester Americans, leading all AHL goaltenders with 3,082:36 of total ice time. He has a .909 save percentage and a 2.86 goals-against average in 53 games and was named an AHL All-Star.

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Malone to make NHL debut for Sabres in Florida

by Jourdon LaBarber @jourdonlabarber / Sabres.com

SUNRISE, Fla. - As Sean Malone reaffirmed form the visiting dressing room at BB&T Center on Saturday morning, hockey is a game of bounces. Sometimes, those bounces can be the difference between playing for a National Championship in Chicago and making your NHL debut in Florida.

Specifically, Malone was referring to the two shots his Harvard team rang off the crossbar in the final seconds of their NCAA Semifinal game on Thursday night, one of which came off his own stick. If either of those shots had gone an inch or two lower, their game against Minnesota Duluth would have been tied and Harvard might be prepping to face Denver for the National Championship tonight.

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Sabres hope to learn from home finale vs. Habs

McCabe scratched; Okposo likely to miss rest of season

by Jourdon LaBarber @jourdonlabarber / Sabres.com

Coming off of two straight losses on home ice, the Buffalo Sabres will give it one last go in front of their fans when they conclude their home slate against the Montreal Canadiens tonight. It's a night that the Sabres had hoped would come much later at the outset of the season.

"This year feels like it flew by pretty quick and here we are," Foligno said. "For a disappointing season, we owe a lot to our fans for sticking by us against and can't thank our fans here enough for their support so a win here tonight would pay respect to that."

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Nylander to make debut against brother William, Leafs

Franson to return; Okposo remains out with illness

by Jourdon LaBarber @jourdonlabarber / Sabres.com

Alex and William Nylander have come a long way from playing knee hockey. 

Until they met in the preseason back in September, that was the extent of their head-to-head experience - that and practice. Tonight, they'll take it a step further: Alex will make his NHL debut for the Buffalo Sabres against William and the Toronto Maple Leafs at KeyBank Center. 

"It's kind of crazy that I'm going to play against my brother in my first game," Alex said. "I'm just super excited and I'm pumped for tonight."

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Smith to make debut as Sabres host Islanders

by Jourdon LaBarber @jourdonlabarber / Sabres.com

Exactly one week ago, C.J. Smith was playing his final collegiate game for UMass Lowell, a 3-2 loss to Notre Dame in the quarterfinal round of the NCAA Tournament. Today, he'll be making his NHL debut for the Buffalo Sabres against the New York Islanders. 

Of all the facets of the game that are made more difficult after making the jump from college to the pros, one that stands out the most is adjusting to the increase in size of the opposition. It will be something to watch for from Smith, who described his tenacity on the puck as one of the defining aspects of his game.

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Okposo unlikely to play against Blue Jackets

by Jourdon LaBarber @jourdonlabarber / Sabres.com

COLUMBUS - Kyle Okposo will likely be absent from the lineup when the Buffalo Sabres meet the Columbus Blue Jackets tonight at Nationwide Arena. Okposo is feeling under the weather and is expected to miss the game, according to Sabres coach Dan Bylsma. 

If Okposo doesn't play, it will mean a return to the lineup for Nicolas Deslauriers, who's sat out the last five games as a healthy scratch. It's an appropriate time for Deslauriers to get back onto the ice, considering it him who jolted a comeback for the Sabres the last time these teams met.

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Gionta to play 1,000th game as Sabres host Panthers

by Jourdon LaBarber @jourdonlabarber / Sabres.com

If you're coming to the game tonight, make sure to be in your seats early. It will be the 1,000th NHL game for Brian Gionta as the Sabres host the Florida Panthers, an achievement that only nine other players have accomplished in a Sabres uniform.

A pregame ceremony will be held to honor the milestone for the captain of the Sabres.

"I've been fortunate to have been healthy and have a long career," Gionta said. "I think when I get out there it will be a little different but right now, it hasn't really sunk in."

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Okposo: Sabres need to learn from meeting with Leafs

by Jourdon LaBarber @jourdonlabarber / Sabres.com

While a lot of the focus for the past two days has been on who won't be in the lineup for the Buffalo Sabres tonight - Rasmus Ristolainen will be serving the first game of his three-game suspension - there will be a handful of players who are returning from their own prolonged absences, too.

Kyle Okposo, William Carrier, Dmitry Kulikov and Justin Falk will all be back in the lineup for the Sabres when they host the Toronto Maple Leafs at KeyBank Center. They'll face a Toronto team that has ascended to third place in the Atlantic Division with points in four of its last five games and is fighting for its first playoff berth in four seasons.

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Lehner gets the start as Sabres host Penguins

Okposo, Carrier resume skating

by Jourdon LaBarber @jourdonlabarber / Sabres.com

It's been 16 days since the Buffalo Sabres played in Pittsburgh on a Sunday afternoon and lost one of their toughest games of the season, one in which they ran out to a 3-0 lead against the reigning Stanley Cup champions only to fall 4-3 in the end.

A win that day would have given the Sabres points in three straight games; instead it stood as one of six losses in a stretch of seven. It's a game that still sits fresh in the Sabres' minds as they host the Penguins at KeyBank Center tonight.

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Austin to make NHL debut tonight in Detroit

by Chris Ryndak @ChrisRyndak / Sabres.com

DETROIT - Brady Austin took the ice for the Morning Skate on Monday in the Buffalo Sabres' final pregame skate ever at Joe Louis Arena, taking an important step toward fulfilling a lifelong goal. 

Earlier in the day, the first recall of his career was made official and he'll make his NHL debut tonight when the Sabres take on the Red Wings.

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