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Five Things to Know as Sabres host Coyotes

The Sabres walked into the dressing room Thursday, and it was the same guys who walked out of it Wednesday.

Here are their thoughts in Five Things to Know with Arizona coming to KeyBank Center.

1. Quiet trade deadline a relief for players

Despite a lackluster season, the Sabres didn’t want changes to the roster. They got their wish. What do they think?

“We think we’ve got to make the playoffs,” Tyler Ennis said after the morning skate. “We think we’re six points out and we’ve got to put it behind us and learn from it.”

Despite going 0-3-1 in their last four games, the Sabres are six points out of the playoffs (with one extra game played over Toronto).

“By no means has anyone given up on this season,” captain Brian Gionta said.

2. They thought changes were coming

The Sabres’ lack of trades was rare. It was the quietest deadline day since 2002. The players assumed there would be moves.

“Definitely,” Ennis said. “After a few games of losing, blowing some leads, you’re not playing how you want to play, I think anyone who has a chance of getting moved could get moved.

“But now it’s over with. We have our team and we’ve got to get a win tonight.”

3. New lines

The Sabres have switched their lines again.

Ennis gets the biggest boost with a move to the top line. He has just four goals and nine points in 32 games but has skated well recently.

“He needed to get to where his game was good and what he could do, and I think recently he has been,” coach Dan Bylsma said. “We’re seeing more from Tyler that we need to see, and as a result he’s getting an opportunity with Ryan and Kyle.”

4. Robin Lehner in net again

The Sabres’ No. 1 goaltender will start after Tuesday’s 5-4 overtime loss to Nashville. He has played 13 of the last 15 games.

Bylsma wants the goalie to get help. Buffalo has blown third-period leads in the last two games, losing to Nashville and dropping a 3-2 decision Sunday in Arizona.

“We had enough goals to win the hockey game,” Bylsma said. “We had enough. It was 2-0 and it was 4-2. We had plenty. We need to play better defense. We need to be committed to playing on the right side of the puck and playing the right way to close out hockey games.

“That’s what we need from everybody – Ryan O’Reilly, Kyle Okposo and Jack Eichel. Whether you’re Evan Rodrigues or our leader in Ryan O’Reilly and Brian Gionta, you need to play the right way to win those hockey games.”

5. Win a winnable game

The Sabres have been OK against playoff teams, putting up a 16-14-5 record against the 16 teams in a postseason position. They are just 10-12-5 against teams not in a playoff spot.

“It’s up to us, up to the room to get up for games no matter who we’re playing,” Ennis said. “Especially now in today’s game, the worst team isn’t that far off from the best team on a scale. You’ve got to treat every team the same and compete and play the same way. Tonight’s no different.”

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