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Johnson expected to start in season finale vs. Panthers

by Jourdon LaBarber @jourdonlabarber / Sabres.com

SUNRISE, Fla. - Depending on the way things play out elsewhere around the league, the Buffalo Sabres might just have a chance to play spoiler in their season finale against the Florida Panthers at BB&T Center on Saturday night. 

The Panthers' playoff hopes rest on the result of the game being played between the Philadelphia Flyers and New York Rangers, which will end before the puck drops in Florida. The Flyers would clinch the final playoff berth in the Eastern Conference with a victory.

The result in that game might also dictate the Sabres' plans. Phil Housley said he expects to go with Chad Johnson in net for the fourth-straight game but left the door open for Adam Wilcox to make his NHL debut against his former organization, if even for a period.

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For young Sabres, visit to Tampa presents next big test

by Jourdon LaBarber @jourdonlabarber / Sabres.com

TAMPA - Casey Mittelstadt may have left his collegiate career behind when he signed his entry-level contract last month, but school is still in session for the young forward. For him and fellow first-round pick Alex Nylander, this last road trip is a chance to learn what it takes to play in the NHL and apply those lessons in the offseason. 

For their next test, they'll face a Tampa Bay Lightning team looking to cling to its Atlantic Division lead on Friday. 

"They're going to see how a very good team plays and their attention to detail away from the puck, what they do with it and how fast they play the game," Sabres coach Phil Housley said.

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Nylander to make season debut on Fan Appreciation Night

by Jourdon LaBarber @jourdonlabarber / Sabres.com

Alex Nylander had high expectations entering this season, his second as a pro. The 20-year-old forward had spent the summer getting stronger, which was noticeable at the outset of training camp in September. Then, a lower-body injury brought everything to a halt. 

Nylander sustained his injury during the Prospects Challenge - before training camp even officially began - and didn't make his season debut for Rochester until Nov. 17. But while the beginning of his season didn't go the way he hoped, he has a chance to end it on a high note.

Nylander will make his season debut for the Buffalo Sabres when they host the Ottawa Senators at KeyBank Center on Wednesday night.

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Sabres look to win season series in Toronto

Gorges steps in for Antipin; Housley disagrees with decision on Hartnell

by Jourdon LaBarber @jourdonlabarber / Sabres.com

TORONTO - It was only a week ago that the Buffalo Sabres came into Air Canada Centre and earned a win over the Toronto Maple Leafs, a performance they'll look to replicate when the two teams conclude their season series on Monday night. 

Having that win under their belt - and having two wins in three head-to-head matchups this season - should give the Sabres cause for confidence. At the same time, Jack Eichel expects their most recent meeting to be fresh on the Maple Leafs' minds.

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Housley makes return to Nashville as Sabres visit Preds

by Jourdon LaBarber @jourdonlabarber / Sabres.com

NASHVILLE - Phil Housley knows the impact that the home crowd at Bridgestone Arena can have on a game as well as anyone. On Saturday, he'll experience that raucous atmosphere for the first time as a visiting coach. 

Housley, who began his NHL coaching career as an assistant with the Nashville Predators for the past four seasons, will make his first return to Music City as head coach of the Buffalo Sabres on Saturday night.

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Sabres recall Wilcox from Rochester

by Sabres PR @SabresPR / Sabres.com

The Buffalo Sabres today announced the team has recalled goaltender Adam Wilcox from the Rochester Americans (AHL).

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Mittelstadt set to make NHL debut vs. Red Wings

by Jourdon LaBarber @jourdonlabarber / Sabres.com

Casey Mittelstadt says he's envisioned this day his entire life. The 19-year-old forward began his whirlwind week when he flew to Buffalo on Monday, and then signed his entry-level contract with the Sabres on Tuesday. The next day, he skated in his first NHL practice.

Now, only hours separate Mittelstadt - barely a year removed from playing high school hockey in Minnesota - from making his NHL debut. There should be plenty of adjectives to describe how he's feeling, but nervous doesn't seem to be one of them. 

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Sabres shake up defense in Toronto

by Jourdon LaBarber @jourdonlabarber / Sabres.com

TORONTO - With the news of Casey Mittelstadt signing his entry-level deal breaking just as the Buffalo Sabres left the ice at Air Canada Centre on Monday morning, there was a noticeable buzz in the visiting dressing room regarding the newest addition to the organization. 

With Mittelstadt not set to join the team until Tuesday or Wednesday, however, the players' focus was set toward their game against the Toronto Maple Leafs on Monday night. Buffalo will be looking to snap a four-game losing streak in which they've been outscored 16-2 despite outshooting their opponents in all four contests.

The key to turning those shots into goals begins at the net front, according to coach Phil Housley.

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Sabres look to end scoring drought in New York

by Jourdon LaBarber @jourdonlabarber / Sabres.com

NEW YORK - Following a loss at home to Montreal on Friday, Phil Housley called upon the leadership group of the Buffalo Sabres to step up and get the team on track. The message from their coach, Jack Eichel said, was received and even welcomed.

"We're all professionals," Eichel said. "We're all grown men. I don't think anyone's feelings are getting hurt. I don't think anyone's got a problem with that and holding people accountable. It needs to happen. It's happened on a lot of teams I've played on and there's no reason it shouldn't happen here."

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Sabres unable to capitalize on chances in shutout loss

by Jourdon LaBarber @jourdonlabarber / Sabres.com

For one period on Friday night, the Buffalo Sabres delivered exactly the type of response that Phil Housley was looking for. Coming off a loss to Arizona in which their effort was deemed unacceptable by the coach and his players alike, the Sabres came out and dominated the Montreal Canadiens for most of the first period. 

The one thing the Sabres were unable to do in that period - in which they outshot the Canadiens, 11-6 - was score. Then the second came, and things changed. Artturi Lehkonen scored for the Canadiens off a defensive-zone draw early in the period, which would stand as the deciding goal in a 3-0 loss for the Sabres.

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