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Five Things to Know as Sabres, Maple Leafs play back-to-back

The Sabres' rapid-fire preseason continues with back-to-back games against Toronto. The teams meet at 7:30 Friday night in Ricoh Coliseum, then head to KeyBank Center for a 7 p.m. matchup Saturday.

Here are Five Things to Know about the series opener, which can be heard on WGR-AM 550.

1. Ryan O'Reilly will headline the lineup.

The Sabres canceled their morning skate. The only workout Friday morning was the scratches practicing in HarborCenter.

Based on who was absent, it looks like the game group will be as follows:

Benoit Pouliot-Ryan O'Reilly-Seth Griffith
Johan Larsson-Jacob Josefson-Nick Baptiste
Evan Rodrigues-Zemgus Girgensons-Stevie Moses
Nicolas Deslauriers-Kevin Porter-Cliff Pu

Jake McCabe-Matt Tennyson
Justin Falk-Taylor Fedun
Victor Antipin-Cody Goloubef

Linus Ullmark
Adam Wilcox

Sabres giving Griffith opportunity to jump from minor-league star to NHLer

Toronto, meanwhile, will feature Auston Matthews, Patrick Marleau and Nazem Kadri.

2. Marco Scandella skated.

The key defensive addition returned to the ice after missing the previous two practice days. He is recovering from offseason hip surgery.

Scandella returns, focused on being ready for Sabres' opener

3. It's crunch time for bubble players.

The Sabres will have completed two-thirds of their exhibition schedule by Saturday night. On Monday, the Rochester Americans start training camp.

The players who want to show they belong in Buffalo rather than the American Hockey League have a couple of days to bolster their case.

4. System taking shape.

Coach Phil Housley spent Wednesday and Thursday adding new wrinkles to his game plan. He hopes to see results against the Maple Leafs.

"We made some adjustments in our practices the last two days of what we thought needed to be addressed, and hopefully we can apply that," Housley said. "It's just implementing our system, just the way we want to play and attack. Not only starting from our own end, but in certain situations off a transition, off a turnover we continue to pound our offensive game away.

"It's something new that the players haven't been used to, and we're going to continue to give repetitions on it so it becomes second nature. I'd like to see some of the things we did the last two days that they grasp them and are doing them in the game tonight."

5. Jack Eichel could play at home Saturday.

There are no guarantees regarding the back-to-back finale, but there's a good chance Jack Eichel could play in KeyBank Center.

Here were the lines and defense pairings Friday for the scratches:

Matt Moulson-Eichel-Kyle Okposo
Evander Kane-Sam Reinhart-Jason Pominville
C.J. Smith-Eric Cornel-Hudson Fasching
Vaclav Karabacek-Kyle Criscuolo-Justin Bailey

Nathan Beaulieu-Rasmus Ristolainen
Josh Gorges-Zach Bogosian
Brendan Guhle-Casey Nelson
Scandella-Devante Stephens

Robin Lehner, Chad Johnson, Jason Kasdorf.

Sabres Notebook: Wilcox's fight does No. 32 proud; Scandella sits again; Pu in

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