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O'Reilly, Stamkos expected to miss Sabres-Lightning

At least Buffalonians got to see a supermoon this week. They won’t see much star power Thursday.

The Sabres and Lightning will play without their top skaters when they meet in KeyBank Center. Ryan O’Reilly is expected to miss his third straight game, Buffalo coach Dan Bylsma said Wednesday. Also out with previous injuries for the Sabres will be Jack Eichel, Tyler Ennis, Zach Bogosian and Dmitry Kulikov.

The Lightning, meanwhile, sent center Steven Stamkos back to Tampa Bay for further evaluation on his knee.

“I always feel better about going best-on-best and playing against the other team’s best,” Bylsma said after team meetings. “That’s what you want to compete against, what you want to beat. But at the same time, no one’s going to sit around and feel sorry for anybody with the injuries you have or the injuries they have.

“We have our share. … That’s a blow they’re going to have to deal with in their lineup. That’s a big piece and a great player.”

O’Reilly, who has a midsection injury, was one of the few players to take the ice as Buffalo elected not to practice.

“He’s progressing,” Bylsma said. “I’m not hopeful for tomorrow, but he is getting better and I like his progress.”

Eichel is also skating as he reaches the five-week mark of his high-ankle sprain. He was expected to miss up to eight weeks.

“Jack is skating, upping his skating regime and showing signs of progress but still has a ways to go,” Bylsma said. “He hasn’t reached all levels of his skating yet in terms of stopping and starting and all those things, but is progressing pretty well.”

In the first official announcement of Ennis’ timeline, Bylsma said the forward is expected to miss six weeks. That matches the timeline set last week in The Buffalo News report that Ennis had surgery on a double hernia.

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