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Bailey on standby as flu hampers Gionta

NEWARK, N.J. -- Ryan O'Reilly and Jack Eichel both missed practice yesterday but skated today in the Prudential Center and should be fine for the Sabres' game tonight against New Jersey. Justin Bailey also skated today after arriving from Rochester and it's possible he ends up in the lineup for captain Brian Gionta, who is suffering from the flu.

Coach Dan Bylsma said the Buffalo lineup will be a gametime decision but that Bailey likely won't play if Eichel, O'Reilly and Gionta are able to go because he's on an emergency recall.

Bylsma said he's heard good things about Bailey's play in Rochester in March, as the Williamsville native has 19 goals and 43 points for the Amerks on the season.

"Prior to his callup, he was consistently being one of the best forwards on the ice down in Roch," Bylsma said. "After his callup, I think he really moved his game, especially in the last 14 games or so, to another level in being a force in and around the net, in the slot area, on the power play there."

"It's a lot more controlled up here but it definitely gave me a lot of confidence going back," Bailey said. "I found some good chemistry with Willie Carrier and our team has been scoring more goals of late too."

The Sabres are 0-2 against the Devils this year, with both games in Buffalo. There was a 4-3 loss on Oct. 24 and a 2-0 defeat on Dec. 15. Linus Ullmark played both games in goal. O'Reilly had three points in the first meeting. Adam Henrique had two goals and two assists for the Devils.

"This is a team that really outworked and outcompeted us," Bylsma said. "That's the strength of their team and what they've done to be successful."

Chad Johnson will make his ninth straight start in goal for the Sabres and be opposed by Cory Schneider. The Devils will have all-time scoring leader Patrik Elias back in the lineup tonight for the first time since December knee surgery.

Both teams have three games left, with the Devils playing all of them at home while the Sabres play two of the three on the road.

 

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