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Baptiste gets first shot with Sabres since November

CALGARY – After the worst loss of a rough season, lineup changes were a no-brainer. Nick Baptiste is among those who will benefit.

The right winger will be in the Sabres' lineup for the first time since Nov. 14 when Buffalo visits the Calgary Flames on Monday night.

"I'm excited," Baptiste said in Scotiabank Saddledome. "It's been a little while since I've been back up, but coach is giving me an opportunity to step in here, and I'm excited to take advantage of it."

The Sabres recalled Baptiste from Rochester on Friday, but he watched from the press box Saturday as Dallas dismantled the Sabres, 7-1. He'll step in for Benoit Pouliot, who will be scratched for the third time in seven games.

Baptiste was with center Evan Rodrigues and left wing Jordan Nolan during the morning skate. His goals are simple.

"Playing with a ton of speed, chipping pucks in, being physical, shooting the puck," Baptiste said. "Obviously, we have tons of skill on this team, and I'm just going to try and come in and bring a lot of energy, bring a lot of pace and try to make it tough on their defense.

"A big part of my game is backchecking and disrupting their attack, so I've got to make sure I'm on my horse and making sure I'm doing things to help our defense out."

Baptiste has no points in four appearances with the Sabres while averaging 8:02 per night. He skated just 5:38 on Nov. 14 in Pittsburgh before being sent back down. Baptiste has seven goals and 17 points in 34 games with the Amerks and insists he learned from his ill-fated recall.

"It was good to get in some games, but now I feel like I've improved my game and I've made strides to try and keep myself up here as long as possible," he said.

Five Things to Know as Sabres visit Calgary Flames

Defenseman Nathan Beaulieu will return to the Sabres' lineup after missing two games with an illness. Defenseman Josh Gorges is sick and will not play.

"You can talk about the Calgary Flames and the way they're playing right now, really good hockey," Sabres coach Phil Housley said. "We know what we're up against, but I think it's more about us. How are we going to respond after a loss and the way we did lose? That's what I'm looking for.

"We're on the road. We don't have to impress anybody but impress ourselves by playing a simple road game."

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