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Sabres make major line swaps in attempt to score; Ristolainen named to world juniors

By John Vogl

Ted Nolan has been very patient with his forward lines since taking over as coach. He wanted to give players a chance to perform with consistent linemates before making sweeping changes.

The time has come to make those changes.

The Sabres went with four new lines for practice today and will likely use them Tuesday when Ottawa visits First Niagara Center.

"When you’re not getting wins, sometimes things have to change," said left wing Matt Moulson. "You’ve got to perform and produce to keep going. Coach is looking for some different combinations to get things going, and hopefully everyone jells together."

The Sabres have just 10 goals in the last eight games, with droughts dotting the lineup. The new lines:

Moulson-Tyler Ennis-Zemgus Girgensons

Marcus Foligno-Steve Ott-Drew Stafford

Luke Adam-Cody Hodgson-Matt D'Agostini

John Scott-Ville Leino/Cody McCormick-Brian Flynn

The first line had been Hodgson in the middle of Moulson and Stafford.

"Our top line is having a little trouble," Nolan said. "Maybe the chemistry isn’t quite right, so we talked to them and decided instead of trying to have one we’ll have three. We have to get this thing turned around together."

Defenseman Alexander Sulzer returned to practice for the first time in a week but will not play Tuesday.

Meanwhile, rookie defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen has been named to Finland's world junior team. He suffered a concussion last week playing in Rochester but is still expected to play for his home country.

"I’m quite sure we’ll give him permission to play there," Nolan said.

Ted Nolan

Cody Hodgson


Rasmus Ristolainen | Ted Nolan
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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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