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Sabres game day: Conor Sheary makes immediate impact in return

Matchup: Buffalo Sabres (6-1-1) vs. San Jose Sharks (3-4-0)
Where: SAP Center
When: 10:30 p.m.
Radio: WGR 550

Valuable lesson: It may be easy to nitpick the Sabres' strong start to the season. After all, they have blown a pair of two-goal, third-period leads, struggled to respond to Anaheim's physicality Wednesday and relied on Carter Hutton's 47-save shutout Thursday.

However, coach Ralph Krueger has helped this group respond properly to difficult performances. The Sabres mounted a three-goal lead against Los Angeles on the second night of a back to back. There's no question this team is more talented and mature than a year ago.

Now, they need to learn how to manage a lead and not become too aggressive.

"We were trying to get the 4-0 at times in the second period and it’s still learning how to manage games like this and we are a group that has so much to learn and tomorrow is going to be another day of learning," Krueger said Thursday in Staples Center. "I think today what happened was the guys were excited by the way the game started for us. … We still have to understand what that means, being on our toes. We did leave the D zone a little bit too quick sometimes in the second period, but we corrected that in the third."

Sabres' lineup: Linus Ullmark will start in goal for the Sabres in San Jose, despite Carter Hutton having shut out each of his last two opponents. Meanwhile, defenseman John Gilmour and forward Evan Rodrigues are expected to be the healthy scratches.

Krueger made one notable change during line rushes, though. Rasmus Dahlin skated alongside Henri Jokiharju, and Marco Scandella was with Colin Miller. Krueger wouldn't comment on the change, obviously for strategical reasons.

Here were the lines/pairings at the morning skate in SAP Center:

Sheary factor: The Sabres are a different team with Sheary in the lineup. It's important to note Evan Rodrigues didn't play poorly when he was on Casey Mittelstadt's line during Sheary's absence. It seemed Rodrigues was gaining traction in Buffalo's shutout win over Dallas on Monday.

However, Sheary might be one of the Sabres' better two-way players. He's strong on the forecheck and his speed can cause matchup problems for opponents. Sheary has three goals among four points in four games this season, and two of his points have come on the power play.

Sheary's return made an obvious difference for Mittelstadt's line, which accounted for all three Sabres goals in Los Angeles.

"I think he’s good all over the ice," Mittelstadt said of Sheary. "He’s such a good forechecker. He’s so fast. He’s always going in there and taking pucks, protecting pucks. He does a good job."

Sharks' lineup: San Jose is expected to start Martin Jones in goal. He stopped 28 of 32 shots in a 5-2 win over Carolina on Wednesday. Additionally, former Sabres winger Evander Kane had a hat trick in the first period of that game.

Kane has been skating on the Sharks' second line with Tomas Hertl and Kevin Labanc. San Jose will hold its morning skate at its practice facility nearby. The Sharks have had some trouble generating offense, ranking 26th in shots on goal per game entering play Friday.

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