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Five Things to Know as Sabres visit Carolina Hurricanes

RALEIGH, N.C. – Zach Bogosian is back. Cam Ward isn't going anywhere.

Here are Five Things to Know as the Sabres visit the Carolina Hurricanes on Saturday night.

1. Defense is at full health.

The last missing piece of Buffalo’s blue line will take the ice in PNC Arena. Bogosian will return after missing 20 games with a sprained medial collateral ligament in his knee.

It will be just the ninth time in 30 games that Bogosian, Rasmus Ristolainen, Jake McCabe, Josh Gorges, Dmitry Kulikov and Cody Franson will be in the lineup together. The last time was Nov. 1, when Bogosian got hurt.

“We’ll ease him in,” Sabres coach Dan Bylsma said. “It gives us three left shots and three right shots, so he’ll see time with Gorges and he’ll see time with Kulikov.”

2. Taylor Fedun sent to Rochester.

With Bogosian back, the Sabres have returned Fedun to the Amerks. He is healthy after missing time with an upper-body injury.

Defenseman Justin Falk will be a healthy scratch against the Hurricanes and serve as the Sabres’ seventh blue-liner for the time being.

3. Anders Nilsson in net for Buffalo.

After three straight starts for Robin Lehner, Nilsson will get the nod as the Sabres’ starting goaltender. Nilsson has won three in a row and is 5-1-1 in his last six decisions. He has a .932 save percentage this season.

4. Hurricanes go back to Ward.

After being in net for Friday’s 4-3 shootout loss to Washington, Ward will return to the crease. He will make his seventh straight start and will appear for the 25th time in Carolina’s 31 games.

Ward is 9-8-5 with a .914 save percentage this season. He is 11-10-5 with a .902 save percentage in his career against Buffalo.

5. It’s hard for visitors to win in Carolina.

The Hurricanes are 7-0-1 in their last eight games in Raleigh. Special teams have helped. For the season, Carolina ranks first in penalty kill at 91.2 percent and sixth in power play at 22 percent.

“They have a lot of good stats,” Bylsma said. “Getting Jordan Staal back on whatever line you’d like to put him on, they have three really good offensive lines. Speed, skill throughout the top nine. They’re a hard-working, forechecking team. They’re not real physical, but they really do smother you with their speed.

“They’re tenacious on the puck, and they’ve become a very hard team to play because of it. Their special-team stats as well make them a dangerous hockey team. They’re becoming a very dangerous team to play against.”

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