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Sabres game day: Victor Olofsson showing progress defensively

Matchup: Buffalo Sabres (5-0-1) vs. Anaheim Ducks (4-2-0)
Where: Honda Center
When: 10 p.m.
Radio: WGR 550

Sabres' lineup: Winger Conor Sheary joined the Sabres for the three-game road trip but is still "day to day" with an upper-body injury, according to coach Ralph Krueger. Forward Curtis Lazar, who was recalled from Rochester on Sunday, and defenseman John Gilmour are expected to be the healthy scratches.

Krueger won't announce his starting goalie until he addresses the media at approximately 8:30 p.m., EST. Carter Hutton and Linus Ullmark both have a .931 save percentage, though the former has started two more games.

Here is how the Sabres lined up during practice Tuesday in Honda Center:

Goalofsson: Victor Olofsson is a very early candidate for the Calder Trophy. That's a remarkable story considering how many talented rookies are in the National Hockey League this season, including New Jersey's Jack Hughes.

Olofsson, 24, has a team-high five goals among seven points in six games this season. His goal Monday against Dallas made him the first player in NHL history to score each of his first seven career goals on the power play. However, the more notable development was Olofsson's 5-on-5 play against the Stars.

Olofsson has shown he's strong enough away from the puck to remain on the Sabres' top line and his emergence has allowed Krueger to separate Jeff Skinner and Jack Eichel.

"Just in general, if you look at somebody in a rookie season dealing with the pace we’ve had here right off the hop and the pressure that we’re putting on ourselves right now to perform and maintain a certain level, he’s one of many players I could speak about today playing on both sides of the puck," Krueger said of Olofsson on Monday. "I mean, everybody’s working hard back and they’re finding their work and we were much more physical tonight than we were in the last two games. Victor does his job, and that line in general, they had five-one scoring chances playing against a couple of the top players in the world. I think that’s a real compliment to what the Eichel line’s doing defensively."

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Sobotka on the rise: Vladimir Sobotka isn't going anywhere. The winger will remain on  Skinner's line until further notice. After all, Sobotka has provided a much-needed checking presence to complement Skinner and Marcus Johansson.

Additionally, Sobotka is contributing on offense, as illustrated by his assist on Skinner's goal against the Stars. Sobotka is another strong example of how a new coach and system can make a difference for a player.

"Sobotka just doesn’t get the credit he deserves here," Krueger said Monday. "He’s allowing Johansson and Skinner some freedom to take some risks here and there. He’s an unbelievable physical presence on that line, and we’re so pleased he was rewarded with something offensively today. I’m sure that will give him confidence for the future."

Ducks' lineup: John Gibson will start in goal for the Ducks, while Ryan Miller will serve as the backup. Former Sabres prospect Brendan Guhle, a defensemen whom Anaheim acquired in the Brandon Montour trade last February, is expected to sit again with a lower-body injury. Guhle did not participate in Anaheim's informal skate Wednesday morning.

Here's how the Ducks lined up Monday in Boston:

Coaching ties: Eakins was considered a top up-and-coming candidate when he took over as coach of the Edmonton Oilers in 2013-14 following Krueger's dismissal, but he lasted only one-plus seasons. Eakins has spent each of the past four seasons as coach of the Ducks' American Hockey League affiliate in San Diego, leading the Gulls to the playoffs three times.

The Ducks have been an early surprise under Eakins. Their eight points were tied for second in the Pacific Division entering play Tuesday. However, they've scored only 13 goals in six games and they're 0-for-14 on the power play.

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