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On Kane Day, Bylsma confirms Sabres looking for Lehner to make return to NHL this weekend

WINNIPEG, Manitoba -- The hashtags around social media are #TrackSuitNight and #TrackSuitSunday. Seriously. It's Evander Kane's return to Winnipeg this afternoon at 3 p.m ET as the Sabres meet the Winnipeg Jets.

And as you see from the pictures above, it was front-page news up here for the second straight day.

"It's probably going to be interesting for our whole team," coach Dan Bylsma admitted today. "I remember my first game in here when they returned to the NHL and it's a pretty rancorous loud place. It's a tough building to play in and it will be that way for our whole team at the start of this game."

It's a matchup of top goaltending prospects as Buffalo's Linus Ullmark meets Winnipeg's Connor Hellebuyck. Bylsma worked with Hellebuyck at last year's World Championships for Team USA and the 23-year-old could be one of the main players in net for Team North America at next fall's World Cup.

Ullmark struggled in his last outing against Florida, but didn't give more than four goals in his previous four games -- and lost them all. Talk about lack of run support, to borrow a baseball term.

"Both our goalies feel this way a little bit, in terms of their game and how they played. Linus went through a stretch of giving up two goals or less and not getting the win," Bylsma said. "That can be frustrating not getting results. Both guys have given us a chance to win pretty much every night with how they've played."

Also on the goaltending front, Bylsma said the Sabres hope Robin Lehner can return this weekend at home against either Boston or Washington. He will play tonight and Wednesday for Rochester and a decision will then be made. So it's conceivable this is Ullmark's last NHL game for the time being.

Lehner gave up four goals in his debut for Rochester Friday night against Hershey.

"It wasn't perfect but he feels like he's back in net being a goalie again," said Bylsma, who said goalie coach Andrew Allen talked to Lehner by phone from here Saturday. "He's still got  a ways to go. But hopefully the two games he gets today and Wednesday put him in a situation where he's ready to come back on the weekend and be in the net for us."

The Sabres have 12 forwards on the trip but Bylsma admitted Zemgus Girgensons was banged up Friday in Chicago and could sit today after taking warmup. Girgensons missed practice Saturday. The Sabres would dress seven defenseman if Girgensons can't play.

 

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