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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:
6146-11-496
6035-17-878
5936-19-476
Metropolitan Division Leaders:
5835-17-676
6033-20-773
6032-21-771
Wild Card leaders:
6032-21-771
5933-23-369
-----------------------------------------
6031-23-668
5928-24-763
6028-25-763
5826-24-860
5926-25-860
6023-29-854
6023-29-854
5922-32-549
TEAMGPRECPTS
Central Division Leaders:
5936-19-476
6134-22-573
5932-22-569
Pacific Division Leaders:
5936-16-779
6035-17-878
6132-25-468
Wild Card leaders:
5829-24-563
6027-27-660
-----------------------------------------
5924-24-1159
6025-26-959
6026-27-759
5926-28-557
6024-27-957
5824-29-553
5923-30-652