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Sabres' Housley trying to dial up hot line, changes forward units

There might be a magical scoring line in the Sabres' dressing room. There might not be.

Phil Housley will keep trying to find it.

The Buffalo coach again switched his lines at practice Wednesday. The Sabres have been shut out in two straight games and rank last in the NHL in scoring, so Housley will shuffle until something clicks.

"When you're not winning, you're trying to find winning combinations," Housley said in KeyBank Center. "We changed lines today. It may change tomorrow. We're going to evaluate practice later on this afternoon.

"We've changed them during the game just trying to get a spark, trying to find something within our lineup."

Aside from an early season run of success by Jack Eichel, Evander Kane and Jason Pominville, the Sabres have struggled to find chemistry or production. Those aforementioned three were back together Wednesday.

Here were the lines:

Jordan Nolan-Ryan O'Reilly-Kyle Okposo
Benoit Pouliot-Kyle Criscuolo-Matt Moulson
Zemgus Girgensons-Johan Larsson-Sam Reinhart

It's a promotion for Nolan, who has 22 goals and 46 points in 315 career games. But he has two goals and three points in the last four, which on this struggling club is a hot streak.

"I like the way he's been playing in the last three or four games," Housley said. "He scored a couple goals recently. I like the way he attacks the game. He's using his speed now. He's getting an opportunity. He's controlling the puck down low in the offensive zone. He's willing to go to the net, and he brings a physical element to the game, as well.

"He's got to continue to do that.

Reinhart, meanwhile, is off the Eichel line. He's skating with Girgensons, who has no points in 17 games, and Larsson, who has one point in 14 games.

Reinhart has five goals and five assists in 25 games, with three of his goals coming in the past eight.

"I expect a lot from everybody in that locker room, not only Sam Reinhart," Housley said. "He's bouncing around a little bit until he finds a niche in the lineup and on a line. We're going to continue to make changes as we move forward here until we start winning.

"Where we sit right now, our desperation level obviously has to increase."

Goal is a dirty word as Sabres' scoring slump worsens

The Sabres are 1-7-2 in their last 10 games and 6-15-4 overall. They're tied with Arizona for fewest points with 16, though the Coyotes have played two extra games at 6-17-4.

"It's not easy," Reinhart said, "but all we can do today is show up to compete, come to practice, and that's what we did."

Sabres defensemen Rasmus Ristolainen and Josh Gorges sat with maintenance days. Ristolainen left Tuesday's 2-0 loss to Tampa Bay with in an injury late in the second period but returned for the third.

The Sabres host Pittsburgh on Friday and visit the Penguins on Saturday.

"We have time to rest players," Housley said.

Sabres Notebook: Too little desperation too late in games

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