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Sabres' Girgensons, Ristolainen eager for NHL debuts

By John Vogl

DETROIT -- Rasmus Ristolainen and Zemgus Girgensons were surprisingly calm Tuesday night. Ristolainen slept for 11 hours, while Girgensons said he had his best night of shut-eye in a long time.

The nerves are kicking in today, though.

Ristolainen and Girgensons will make their NHL debuts tonight when the Sabres visit the Detroit Red Wings. The uncommon poise possessed by the teenagers helped them make Buffalo's opening-night roster, but even the most mature player gets nervous for a first game.

"It should be a good one, I hope," Girgensons said this afternoon in Joe Louis Arena. "I just want to help the team, don’t mess up. Everyone’s probably nervous in their first game, not let that go in the head and just keep doing what I’ve been doing.

"The rush is going to be so high that you don’t need to do anything else to get motivated for the game. I’ve just got to go out there and do my thing."

Ristolainen has one goal for his debut.

"I hope we get that first win," he said. "That would be nice."

Girgensons will skate at left wing along with center Mikhail Grigorenko and right wing Brian Flynn. The other lines are Thomas Vanek-Cody Hodgson-Drew Stafford, Steve Ott-Tyler Ennis-Ville Leino, and Kevin Porter-Cody McCormick-Patrick Kaleta.

Ristolainen's defense partner will be Mike Weber. Christian Ehrhoff-Mark Pysyk and Henrik Tallinder-Tyler Myers make up the other pairs.

Ryan Miller will start in goal.


Rasmus Ristolainen | Zemgus Girgensons
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John Vogl

John Vogl

John Vogl has been covering the Sabres since 2002-03, an era that has included playoff runs, last-place finishes and three ownership changes. The award-winning writer is the Buffalo chapter chairman for the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association.

@BuffNewsVogl |

About Sabres Edge

Mike Harrington

Mike Harrington

Mike Harrington, a Canisius College graduate who began his career as a News reporter in 1987, has been covering the Buffalo Sabres since 2007. He is a member of the Professional Hockey Writers' Association and can vouch that exposed flesh freezes instantly when walking in downtown Winnipeg in January.

@BNHarrington |

Amy Moritz

Amy Moritz

Amy Moritz, a native of Lockport, has a bachelor’s degree in journalism/mass communication from St. Bonaventure University and a master’s degree in humanities from the University at Buffalo. An endurance athlete, she has completed several triathlons, half marathons and marathons.

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