The Sabres head to Pittsburgh for their final road preseason game

September 27, 2017
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Buffalo, NY (WGR 550) - Chad Johnson will get the call in goal for tonight’s preseason game in Pittsburgh. That means Robin Lehner will likely play in the final exhibition game Friday at home. Phil Housley said, “It’s a good opportunity for him to start a game. I thought he did an excellent job last time he played Pittsburgh for two periods, so we’ll see him tonight.”

Marco Scandella is not playing on defense as he’ll sit along with Rasmus Ristolainen, Josh Gorges and Matt Tennyson. It doesn’t sound like Scandella is going to get into a preseason game, “We’re still cautious on that. He’s making progress every day, he feels good, we just don’t want to get ahead of ourselves,” Housley said. “Yes, would I like to see him play tonight? Definitely, but I think he needs to be careful, but I can say this, he’s making improvements every day.”  

The three forward that are out are Matt Moulson, Nick Baptiste and Seth Griffith.

Justin Bailey is getting an opportunity on right wing with Sam Reinhart and Benoit Pouliot. Bailey is in a fight with Griffith and Baptiste for one or two open forward spots. Housley said he’ll be watching for many things, “It’s just what they bring on the ice, their competitive nature, do they understand the concepts? Are they making an impact on the team or their lines?”

“We know Pittsburgh is going to have a strong lineup, so that’s a great challenge for us.”

Bailey gets an opportunity to try to build a chemistry with another young player in Reinhart. The right winger said, “I think in the past two years when I’ve gotten an opportunity like that, it’s been something that you look at and want to take advantage of.”

It certainly is a big chance for Bailey, but he looks at it a little differently, “I think for me whether I’m on the first line, second line, third line, fourth line or an extra guy, my game shouldn’t change too much. I need to play with speed, I need to skate hard and finish every time I can on forechecking to create space for guys like Sammy and Pouls tonight and make sure I’m the F-1 consistently.”  

Bailey has spent much of the preseason killing penalties and he said he did that in junior, but not in pro hockey yet, “I didn’t do too much in Rochester, I played the power play. I did a lot of it in junior, but it’s different in pro and it’s something I can take advantage of, with a long reach and getting sticks in the way and using my legs to put pressure on guys.”

 

Tonight’s lineup in Pittsburgh:

Kane - Eichel - Pominville

Girgensons - O’Reilly - Okposo

Pouliot - Reinhart - Bailey

Deslauriers - Josefson - Larsson

 

Beaulieu - Bogosian

Antipin - Fedun

Falk - Goloubef

 

Join Rick Jeanneret and Rob Ray for all the action starting at 7 p.m.