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Pominville, Scandella meet former team for 1st time as Sabres host Wild

by Jourdon LaBarber @jourdonlabarber / Sabres.com

Walking through the hallway outside the dressing rooms at KeyBank Center Wednesday morning felt a bit like walking through a class reunion. Look one way, and you could find Marco Scandella and Jason Pominville catching up with members of the Minnesota Wild. Look the other, and there was Tyler Ennis and Marcus Foligno talking to their old Sabres teammates.

With pleasantries out of the way, all four players will set their friendships and memories aside when the Sabres and Wild meet for the first time this season on Wednesday night. 

 "We've got to keep the focus on what we have to do, but it is nice to see the guys," Pominville said. "Obviously good memories, a good group of guys. We went through a lot together so it was nice to have a chance to catch up with some of them."

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Sabres juggle lines for home game vs. Blue Jackets

by Jourdon LaBarber @jourdonlabarber / Sabres.com

With his team in search of offense, Phil Housley juggled his forward lines for the Sabres' home game against the Columbus Blue Jackets on Monday. Namely, Ryan O'Reilly was placed between Evander Kane and Sam Reinhart while Jack Eichel centered a line with Zemgus Girgensons and Jason Pominville.

The Sabres are coming off of a 3-1 loss to Carolina on Saturday, their fourth one-goal performance in five games.

"You look at our last three games, obviously we'd like to get more scoring," Housley said. "We addressed that. But I think just giving the guys some fresh teammates and a new look will revive some confidence and try to create some more balance in our lineup."

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Sabres host Hurricanes on Hockey Fights Cancer Night in Buffalo

by Jourdon LaBarber @jourdonlabarber / Sabres.com

It's a fair assumption that, when the Buffalo Sabres take the ice in lavender sweaters for Hockey Fights Cancer Night prior to their game against Carolina on Saturday, nearly everyone on the ice or in the stands will be able to call to mind a person in their life who's been affected by the disease. 

Phil Housley, for example, will think of his mother. MaryLee Housley was 59 when she passed away from glioblastoma in 2000.  

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Sabres look to increase scoring in Pittsburgh

by Jourdon LaBarber @jourdonlabarber / Sabres.com

PITTSBURGH - No team is immune to the occasional lull in their season, even the two-time defending Stanley Cup champions. Such is the position that the Pittsburgh Penguins find themselves in as the Sabres visit PPG Paints Arena on Tuesday night. 

The Penguins have one win in their last five games, and their average of 2.63 goals per game ranks 25th in the NHL. It's an uncharacteristic start for a team that perennially ranks near the top of the league, so much so that the Sabres aren't willing to put much stock into it.

"Everybody goes through it, right? Even the top team in the league," Sabres coach Phil Housley said. "They've played a lot of hockey the last three years. Sometimes that can catch up and as far as their schedule goes early, they had a lot of back-to-backs, a lot of games in a short period of time."

 

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Beaulieu returns to Montreal as Sabres meet Canadiens

by Jourdon LaBarber @jourdonlabarber / Sabres.com

MONTREAL - Nathan Beaulieu still remembers how strange it was to have dinner with Shea Weber in Nashville last season. Weber had spent his entire career in Nashville until being traded to Montreal in the offseason, and his emotions going into the game were uncharacteristic. 

"I've never seen Shea get so uncomfortable and nervous, he was so weirded out by the whole situation," Beaulieu recalled. "I never understood it until I did it. It's really weird playing against your old team.'"

Beaulieu will experience playing in Montreal for the first time as a member of the visiting team when the Sabres meet the Canadiens on Saturday night. Beaulieu played 225 games for Montreal over parts of six seasons after being selected by the Canadiens in the first round of the 2011 draft. 

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Lehner to pay tribute to fallen officer prior to game vs. Panthers

by Jourdon LaBarber @jourdonlabarber / Sabres.com

Prior to their game against the Florida Panthers on Friday night, the Buffalo Sabres will take the ice for warmups in camouflage jerseys, which will then be auctioned off in support of the Sabres Foundation. It's a tradition that occurs on Military Appreciation Nights across the NHL.

On Friday, Sabres goalie Robin Lehner will take the tradition one step further. Lehner's name plate will read "C. Lehner," in honor of fallen Buffalo police offer Craig Lehner, who tragically passed during a training accident in October. He'll also wear No. 43, a nod to Officer Lehner's radio call sign.

Afterward, the goalie will present the jersey to Officer Lehner's family.

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Baptiste to make season debut; Tennyson questionable vs. Capitals

Gorges, Beaulieu skate with team; Sabres allowing Guhle to develop

by Jourdon LaBarber @jourdonlabarber / Sabres.com

Just as the defense corps for the Buffalo Sabres finally began to show signs of health, the team may have lost one more defenseman to injury. Matt Tennyson was on the ice with the Sabres to begin their morning skate on Tuesday, but left the session early. 

Tennyson, who sustained his injury blocking a shot in practice on Monday, will be a game-time decision when the Sabres host the Washington Capitals on Tuesday night.

"He got a shot in the ankle, which just developed," Sabres coach Phil Housley said. "He was out there trying and he's going to do some treatment right now."

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Sabres will look to spread minutes with Ristolainen out in Dallas

by Jourdon LaBarber @jourdonlabarber / Sabres.com

DALLAS - As the Buffalo Sabres have battled through injuries to their back end this season, Phil Housley has had to rely on Rasmus Ristolainen more than he hoped. Through 13 games, Ristolainen is the NHL leader in average ice time at 27:09.

Against the Dallas Stars on Saturday night, it will take a team effort to compensate for those minutes. Ristolainen is day-to-day with an upper-body injury and will not play, joining Zach Bogosian, Nathan Beaulieu and Josh Gorges as defensemen currently on the shelf due to injury.

"We're going to have to spread that [ice time] around a little bit," Housley said. "Other guys are getting opportunities, that's the way they've got to look at it."

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Falk returns to lineup, Bailey to miss game for Sabres in Arizona

Baptiste a game-time decision; Who to watch on the Coyotes

by Jourdon LaBarber @jourdonlabarber / Sabres.com
GLENDALE, Ariz. -  It's been four days since the Buffalo Sabres last played a game, a rare stretch of rest in what's been an otherwise jam-packed early season schedule for the team. The schedule resumes Thursday night when they kick off a two-game road trip against the Arizona Coyotes.

In the meantime, the Sabres have had one player lost to injury and another return. Justin Bailey is day-to-day with a lower-body injury and will not play after missing practice on Wednesday, while defenseman Justin Falk will return to the lineup to make his season debut. 

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Lehner to start in net against Sharks

by Jourdon LaBarber @jourdonlabarber / Sabres.com

When Phil Housley announced Robin Lehner as his starter for Saturday afternoon against the San Jose Sharks, he followed it up with another announcement: Lehner recently became the father of a new baby girl. 

It just so happens that the goalie is also playing his best hockey of the season. Coming off of a 32-save shutout of the Detroit Red Wings on Tuesday, Lehner has played 91:35 without allowing a goal. 

"I think he had a really strong game against Detroit and he made some really key saves, especially in the second period," Housley said. "I thought our defense in the defensive zone, we collapsed really well, not too many second chances and we're going to have to do that again today.

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