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Morning Skate: 5 things to know about Sabres vs. Sens

The Buffalo Sabres make their KeyBank Center debut Tuesday night, hosting the Ottawa Senators in their first home preseason game and second game in two nights.

The Sabres are coming off a 2-1 loss to the Minnesota Wild at Penn State on Monday.

What to watch for in tonight's game:

1. The return of Tyler Ennis. Ennis will be in a game for the first time in nearly nine months after suffering two concussions last year. HE will be on a line with newly acquired Kyle Okposo, who will make his debut in Sabres sweater.

"I think we’re playing well," Ennis said of his time with Okposo during the morning skate and in camp. "He’s smart. He’s always in the right spot. He’s a big guy that’s got some really good hands and he’s a good play-maker so he’s well-rounded. He’s kind of unique. He’s a big, strong guy who has all the tools. He has the skill to pass. He was an awesome pickup and I look forward to playing with him."

2.  Robin Lehner back in net. Lehner, who suffered through two years of injuries including a concussion and high ankle sprain, will get the start in goal. He said he expects to play the entire game against his former team.

"I feel like I prepared well," Lehner said after Tuesday's morning skate. "It’s a preseason game against a former team. Obviously, I really want to win this one. But for me right now, it’s just to get back into the swing of things and get repetition in and start focusing on the first game of the season.

"They’re a good team. They’re bringing a pretty stacked-up roster. I think it’s going to be exciting. It’s a good opportunity for this team, for a lot of guys to show how good they are."

3. Opportunities for young players. There is competition for both a forward and defensive spot on the Sabres roster. For those already on the roster, there is competition within for spots on top lines, top pairings and various other roles. Playing back-to-back preseason games allows head coach Dan Bylsma to give plenty of playing time and opportunities for players to make their cases in a game situation.

"Our team, minus the guys at the World Cup, is split pretty evenly between the first two games," Bylsma said. "It's an opportunity for the players in the 23-35 range of our depth chart have a good chance to play a game and get an opportunity these first two games. We saw Game 1 yesterday at Penn State and this is the other half of the guys who get the opportunity to play here tonight. ... It's kind of split evenly and we're just trying to put in how we want to play and at the same time give guys opportunities to play in an exhibition game."

4. The lines and defensive pairings during morning skate: 

Ennis-Zemgus Girgrensons-Okposo
Nic Deslauriers-Derek Grant-Matt Moulson
Nicholas Baptiste-Dan Catenacci-Eric Cornel
Evan Rodriguez-Jean Dupuy-Hudson Fasching

Jake McCabe-Zach Bogosian
Brady Austin-Cody Franson
Mac Bennett-Erik Burgdoerfer

5. Tune-in. The game will be broadcast on MSG and WGR 550.

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