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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:
1711-3-325
199-6-422
179-5-321
Metropolitan Division Leaders:
1913-2-430
1612-3-125
1710-5-222
Wild Card leaders:
1710-6-121
178-4-521
-----------------------------------------
1810-7-121
179-6-220
158-5-218
157-6-216
176-8-315
165-7-414
176-10-113
196-12-113
TEAMGPRECPTS
Central Division Leaders:
1812-3-327
1710-5-222
179-5-321
Pacific Division Leaders:
1912-5-226
2010-7-323
1810-6-222
Wild Card leaders:
189-6-321
1810-7-121
-----------------------------------------
199-7-321
189-8-119
188-8-218
176-7-416
187-10-115
176-10-113
175-11-111