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Sabres look to extend win streak vs. Blackhawks

by Jourdon LaBarber @jourdonlabarber / Sabres.com

It's with a bit of irony that the newly-implemented bye week in the NHL, a break instituted to give players more time off during the season, has also been responsible for making teams busier on a day-to-day basis. The Sabres will begin their bye week on Monday, but they also had to play 11 games in the first 19 days of February to get there.

Before they can think about taking time off, they have game No. 11 of that stretch awaiting them against the Chicago Blackhawks at KeyBank Center on Sunday. The Sabres, sitting two points behind Boston for the second wild card berth, are looking for their first four-game win streak of the season.

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Franson returns to lineup as Sabres host Blues

by Jourdon LaBarber @jourdonlabarber / Sabres.com

Only two games remain before the bye week for the Buffalo Sabres, and neither of them are going to be easy. The Sabres will begin their back-to-back set on Saturday afternoon when they host the St. Louis Blues, a team that's won seven of its eight games since Mike Yeo took over as coach on Feb. 1. 

Sabres coach Dan Bylsma said that while much of what the Blues do on the ice has remained the same, he's felt a different sense watching them since Yeo took over behind the bench.

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Sabres are careful not to underestimate Avalanche

by Jourdon LaBarber @JourdonLaBarber / Sabres.com

With three games remaining over the next four days leading into a bye week for the Buffalo Sabres, it can be hard not to look ahead to Saturday and Sunday. That's when the Sabres will welcome St. Louis and Chicago, two perrenial contenders from the Central Division, to KeyBank Center on back-to-back days.

Buffalo's opponent on Thursday night also hails the Central Division, albeit with a bit less luster. Yet, despite their poor record, Dan Bylsma cautioned against overlooking the Colorado Avalanche. 

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Bogosian to return; Kane questionable in Ottawa

by Jourdon LaBarber @jourdonlabarber / Sabres.com

OTTAWA - Now two days removed from a disappointing loss at home to Vancouver on Sunday, the Buffalo Sabres will have their first test to see whether they've heeded their own words regarding their inconsistent play as of late. 

Dan Bylsma said he had no problem with Robin Lehner and other players voicing their frustrations publicly over the past two days, which were primarily aimed at the team's tendency to deviate from its game plan on the ice, but the coach added that he's more interested in seeing how the Sabres respond against the Ottawa Senators. 

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Sabres see opportunity in game vs. Vancouver

by Jourdon LaBarber @jourdonlabarber / Sabres.com

Less than 13 hours removed from their 3-1 win in Toronto on Saturday night, the Buffalo Sabres reported to KeyBank Center on Sunday morning with another major opportunity awaiting them in the form of their game against the Vancouver Canucks. 

The Sabres had talked about just how big that matchup with Toronto was, and they did their job to cut the distance between them and the Maple Leafs to a mere five points with the win. With Toronto not playing on Sunday, Buffalo now has a chance to cut that deficit to three. 

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Bailey promoted; Rodrigues to join lineup in Toronto

by Jourdon LaBarber @jourdonlabarber / http://www.sabres.com

TORONTO - Asked about the significance of his team's game against the Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday, Dan Bylsma didn't overcomplicate things. Put simply, if the Sabres win in regulation, they'll be five points back from Toronto. If they lose, they'll be nine points back. 

When you put it that way, there's no questioning the importance of this meeting between the two young division rivals.

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Girgensons out; Kane's status uncertain vs. Ducks

by Jourdon LaBarber @jourdonlabarber / Sabres.com

Certain aspects of the Buffalo Sabres' forward lines remain up in the air as they prepare to host the Anaheim Ducks on Thursday night, but we can start with what we do know: forwards Derek Grant and Evan Rodrigues have joined the team on emergency recall, and Zemgus Girgensons has been declared out due to injury.

What we don't know is the status of Evander Kane, who skated on Thursday morning but did not participate in line drills. The uncertainty stems from a hard collision into the end boards after Kane scored his overtime goal against San Jose on Tuesday.

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Nilsson gets the start on You Can Play Night

by Jourdon LaBarber @jourdonlabarber / Sabres.com

Anders Nilsson has included an image of a rainbow flag on the back of his goalie mask this season, a decision he made over the summer in support of LGBTQ rights. It's fitting, then, that he'll start in net for the Buffalo Sabres against the San Jose Sharks on Tuesday, a game that will double as "You Can Play Night" at KeyBank Center.

The You Can Play Project was founded to "advocate for inclusion, acceptance and respect of LGBTQ athletes in sports." Nilsson is the team ambassador for the Sabres.

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Lehner gets the start for Sabres in New Jersey

by Jourdon LaBarber @jourdonlabarber / Sabres.com

NEWARK, N.J. - With another game looming at home against San Jose on Tuesday, the Buffalo Sabres chose to forego their morning skate on the road ahead of their game in New Jersey on Monday. That's something we might see more of in the coming weeks, as the Sabres embark on a stretch of nine games in the next 14 days.

"We're going to play a lot of games here in the next two weeks and nine days and seven days," Sabres coach Dan Bylsma said. "It's a good chance for us to get, with New Jersey and San Jose and the next couple games, to have a real good chance to win some hockey games and get some points on the board in our favor."

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Gorges, McCabe set to return against Senators

by Jourdon LaBarber @jourdonlabarber / Sabres.com

It's a pattern that seems to have repeated itself time and time again for the Buffalo Sabres this season - just then they appear to get healthy on defense, another man goes down. The revolving door continued to spin on Saturday, when it was announced that Josh Gorges and Jake McCabe will return to the lineup against the Ottawa Senators while Zach Bogosian is day-to-day with a rib injury.

Taylor Fedun will sit as a healthy scratch to make room in the lineup for the two incoming defensemen, while the left-shooting Justin Falk is expected to play on his off side.

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