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Sabres face big test

Hurricanes in town for meaningful matchup in playoff race

⏰ 7 p.m.   ? MSG   ? WGR550

The Sabres are heading towards the eye of the storm Thursday night, taking the Carolina Hurricanes on at full force. 

Season series: 

Carolina beat Buffalo, 4-3, in Raleigh last month. Both teams are currently tied with 58 points and are trying to catch up to Columbus for that second Wild Card spot.

Buffalo notes: 

The Sabres (26-20-6) are coming off a 5-4 shootout victory against visiting the Minnesota Wild on Tuesday. Coach Phil Housley continues to shake up the lines, which worked Tuesday and showed that change is a good thing, and a possible glimpse at a bright future for the rest of Buffalo’s homestead.

At Wednesday’s practice, Johan Larsson practiced on a line with Zemgus Girgensons and Vladimir Sobotka. Housley said Larsson’s status for Thursday will be determined following the team’s morning skate. 

Tage Thompson skated as the extra forward at practice, with Housley sticking to the changes he made in the third period against Minnesota — including Jack Eichel being placed back on a line with Jeff Skinner and Jason Pominville.

Carolina notes: 

The Carolina Hurricanes (26-21-6) have won three of four after shutting out the Pittsburgh Penguins, 4-0, on Tuesday. The team looks for their eighth straight win over Buffalo.

“To come out and kind of play the exact style we need to play to be successful is definitely nice to see. For [Curtis McElhinney] to come back in and play phenomenally just adds to our confidence of our goaltenders. That was a complete win and I think everybody should be pretty happy about that.” – Jordan Martinook

Starting goaltenders: 

McElhinney stopped all 23 shots in Pittsburgh on Tuesday to post his ninth career shutout. Sabres goalie Linus Ullmark made 41 saves and all three shootout attempts against the Wild Tuesday night. 

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NHL Standings

TEAMGPRECPTS
Atlantic Division Leaders:
P8262-16-4128
X8249-24-9107
X8246-28-8100
Metropolitan Division Leaders:
Y8248-26-8104
X8248-27-7103
X8244-26-12100
Wild Card leaders:
X8246-29-799
X8247-31-498
-----------------------------------------
8244-30-896
8236-32-1486
8237-37-882
8232-36-1478
8233-39-1076
8232-40-1074
8231-41-1072
8229-47-664
TEAMGPRECPTS
Central Division Leaders:
Y8247-29-6100
X8247-30-599
X8245-28-999
Pacific Division Leaders:
Z8250-25-7107
X8246-27-9101
X8243-32-793
Wild Card leaders:
X8243-32-793
X8238-30-1490
-----------------------------------------
8239-35-886
8236-34-1284
8237-36-983
8235-36-1181
8235-37-1080
8235-38-979
8231-42-971