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With Lehner nursing injury, Sabres turn to Johnson against Caps

by Jourdon LaBarber @jourdonlabarber / Sabres.com

With Robin Lehner nursing a lower-body injury, the Buffalo Sabres will turn to Chad Johnson to start in net against the Washington Capitals on Monday afternoon. Linus Ullmark has been recalled from Rochester to serve as backup. 

Sabres coach Phil Housley said that Lehner is day-to-day. 

"It's just one of those things that's built up," he said. "He's taking a day off today."

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Nolan, Falk return to lineup against Kings

by Jourdon LaBarber @jourdonlabarber / Sabres.com

Jordan Nolan will get another chance to play his former team when the Buffalo Sabres host the Los Angeles Kings on Saturday afternoon. Nolan, a healthy scratch the past two games, will enter the lineup in place of Nicholas Baptiste.

Justin Falk will be in for Josh Gorges on defense. 

Baptiste scored a goal against Tampa Bay on Tuesday night, his first game since being recalled on Sunday. He was held without a shot in his next game, in Ottawa on Thursday. 

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Lehner gets the nod as Sabres look to extend road streak in Ottawa

by Jourdon LaBarber @jourdonlabarber / Sabres.com

OTTAWA - Since he joined the Buffalo Sabres back in the summer of 2015, Robin Lehner has shown a knack for playing well against the team that drafted him. In nine games against the Ottawa Senators, Lehner has gone 5-0-2 with a .955 save percentage and 1.39 goals-against average. 

Phil Housley took those numbers into account when choosing his starter on Thursday, and while some thought was given to sticking with Chad Johnson after he earned a win over Tampa Bay, it will be Lehner who gets the nod in Ottawa once again.

The Sabres enter the night with points in nine-straight games against the Senators, with a 7-0-2 record in that span. Given where the Senators are at in their season, Lehner said not to expect a 10th-straight point to come easy.

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Pouliot looks to continue strong play as Sabres host Lightning

by Jourdon LaBarber @jourdonlabarber / Sabres.com

When Jack Eichel went down with a high-ankle sprain in Boston on Saturday night, more minutes became available for other forwards on the Buffalo Sabres. Through two games, Benoit Pouliot has taken advantage of the opportunity.  

Pouliot has scored goals in back-to-back games, and as a result will skate on a line with Ryan O'Reilly and Sam Reinhart when the Sabres host the Tampa Bay Lightning at KeyBank Center on Tuesday night. 

"I liked his speed and his tenaciousness," Sabres coach Phil Housley said. "He's skating really well, he's getting to the hard areas. You can see the way he's playing he's had an impact on our team."

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With Eichel absent, other Sabres look to step up vs. Avs

by Jourdon LaBarber @jourdonlabarber / Sabres.com

When Jack Eichel went down with an injury on Saturday, it took a complete team effort for the Buffalo Sabres to earn a victory over the Boston Bruins. It was the type of game they'll look to replicate moving forward, beginning when they host the Colorado Avalanche on Sunday night. 

The Sabres announced Sunday that Eichel is out indefinitely with a high-ankle sprain, sustained after an awkward fall on his right leg during a collision with Boston's Matt Grzelcyk. He missed the first 21 games of last season with the same injury to his left ankle.

Eichel leads the Sabres with 22 goals and 31 assists this season, and his 34 points since the beginning of December are tied for fifth in the league. Replacing his production, Sam Reinhart said, is too tall a task for any one individual.

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Sabres look to continue road streak against surging Bruins

Johnson to start; Girgensons questionable with illness

by Jourdon LaBarber @jourdonlabarber / Sabres.com

BOSTON - If facing one of the league's hottest teams isn't enough motivation, the Buffalo Sabres will have some added incentive to pull out a victory against the Boston Bruins on Saturday night. If they come up short, they'll have their fathers to answer to. 

The team's annual fathers and mentors trip began in Buffalo on Thursday, when the dads were in attendance to watch the Sabres earn a 4-3 win over the New York Islanders. It continued with the trip to Boston, including a tour of historic Fenway Park, and ends with the game against the Bruins.

Will their fathers' presence loom in the back of players' minds?

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With McCabe out, Nelson will see more opportunity vs. Isles

Larsson returns from suspension; Rodrigues to play with Eichel

by Jourdon LaBarber @jourdonlabarber / Sabres.com

With Jake McCabe out three to four weeks after undergoing surgery on his thumb and Johan Larsson returning from a two-game suspension, the Buffalo Sabres will take the ice with a new-look lineup when they conclude their five-game homestand against the New York Islanders on Thursday. 

The injury to McCabe, which occurred in the first period of Buffalo's overtime loss to Anaheim on Tuesday, opens the door for other defensemen to increase their impact. McCabe was one of two Sabres defensemen - along with Marco Scandella - to play every game this season and ranked fifth on the team with an average ice time of 19:30. 

In his absence, Josh Gorges and Victor Antipin are both expected to return to the lineup after sitting as healthy scratches on Tuesday (Justin Falk, who did play against Anaheim, is expected to be scratched). There might also me more opportunity for Casey Nelson, who was promoted to play on a pair with Scandella. 

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Sabres host Ducks on Hockey Is For Everyone Night

by Jourdon LaBarber @jourdonlabarber / Sabres.com

With two games remaining on a five-game homestand, the Buffalo Sabres find themselves still searching for answers on home ice. They'll have an opportunity to find them on Tuesday, hosting a team that hasn't played at home in nearly two weeks.

The Anaheim Ducks come to KeyBank Center playing the finale of a five-game road trip. They lost a 7-4 in Toronto on Monday night and have lost three straight overall, a fact that Phil Housley believes his team needs to take advantage of early. 

"I think it's really important, and it starts with the first faceoff," the Sabres coach said. "That's the first battle you face. Try to win that one and get it in and try to establish a forecheck and back them off. But in saying that, we might not win that first faceoff. 

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Beaulieu ready to return as Sabres host Blues

Larsson suspended 2 games; Rodrigues to join lineup

by Jourdon LaBarber @jourdonlabarber / Sabres.com

Nathan Beaulieu admits that this has been one of the most difficult seasons of his career, largely because he's had to navigate uncharted waters when it comes to missing time. Whether it's been illness or injury, ailments have forced the defenseman to miss 18 games spread over four different stretches.

His latest return lasted all of 1:15 when, after missing two games with an illness, he went down hard from a fight with Calgary Flames forward Curtis Lazar. He's missed four games since then with an upper-body injury, from which he'll make his return when the Sabres host the St. Louis Blues on Saturday.

"It's obviously been really rough," Beaulieu said. "I've been in some unfamiliar waters, so I don't really know how these situations work. It's been extremely difficult but I'm trying to find some positives. We've still got 30 games left, and my goal is to play the next 30 solid."

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Johnson to start as Sabres host Panthers

Josefson to return; Beaulieu remains out

by Jourdon LaBarber @jourdonlabarber / Sabres.com

Chad Johnson will return to the net for the Buffalo Sabres when they host the Florida Panthers at KeyBank Center on Thursday night. It will be Johnson's first start since last Monday, when he earned his second win of the season in a 2-1 overtime victory in Calgary. 

With the Sabres looking to get back on track after opening their five-game homestand with a 3-1 loss to New Jersey on Tuesday, Johnson said that win over the Flames should serve as their template for success.

"Honestly, I think it was just the competitiveness from start to finish," Johnson said. "You can be all analytical if you want to be with the game, but it's pretty simple. Usually the team that outcompetes the other team for the longer period of time usually wins a hockey game.

"I think you saw it the last game that we played here. We got outcompeted for 60 minutes and the team that did that won."

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