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Sabres shake up forward lines in preparation for Panthers

SUNRISE, Fla. – After a day off in the sun, the Sabres got back to work Monday. They had a new look up front.

Buffalo had changes on three of its four lines in BB&T Center. Jack Eichel stayed in the middle of left wing Matt Moulson and right wing Kyle Okposo. The moves featured Ryan O’Reilly centering for Marcus Foligno and Sam Reinhart; Johan Larsson between Evander Kane and Brian Gionta; and a four-man unit of William Carrier, Nicolas Deslauriers, Zemgus Girgensons and Derek Grant.

Foligno received a bump in status after a solid third period during Saturday’s 2-1 shootout loss in Carolina.

“His third period was his best by a mile, playing a big body, physical,” coach Dan Bylsma said. “He was at the net front a couple times in the third. For three scoring chances, he’s the guy at the net, around the net, screening the goalie, getting a tip on some of those pucks and creating second opportunities.

“That’s the way we need him to play for 60 minutes, for every period.”

The Sabres skated for about an hour in preparation for Tuesday’s game against the Florida Panthers. It starts a run of three games in four nights that features Carolina in Buffalo on Thursday and the Sabres visiting the New York Islanders on Friday.

“I don’t know if there was a little sand on their toes, but we had some good flow to the practice, good up and down the ice,” Bylsma said. “It’s really just getting ready for a push here with the last three games before the break.”

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