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Sabres vs. Blackhawks preview: Ennis returns for afternoon challenge

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Wins against teams as good as Chicago would be huge for the Sabres' chances at moving up the standings.

Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports

Game #34

Buffalo Sabres (14-16-3) vs.
Chicago Blackhawks (18-11-4)

Puck Drop: 1:00 pm EST | First Niagara Center | Buffalo, NY
TV: MSG, WGN | Radio: WGR 550
SB Nation Blackhawks Blog: Second City Hockey

Three Questions

1. Can Ennis make an impact in his first game back?

Tyler Ennis will return to the Sabres lineup for the first time in 15 games, meaning Cal O'Reilly has been sent back down to Rochester. Ennis had struggled in the games prior to his injury. Can he turn his play around while playing with two of the Sabres' most talented forwards?

2. How will Chad Johnson follow up his 44-save shutout performance?

Johnson recorded his first shutout as a Sabre against Anaheim earlier in the week. He's earned the starting spot as of late until Robin Lehner returns to game action. Can he have another strong game this afternoon?

3. Will Jonathan Toews dominate the Sabres again?

Last time the Sabres faced Chicago, the Blackhawks won and most of us were happy about it. Toews scored two goals in the final minutes to down Buffalo, just when it seemed that Jack Eichel might be slipping out of the Sabres' grasp. He had a solid outing in Chicago's last game against Edmonton, scoring a goal and two assists.

Projected BUF Lines

McGinn - O'Reilly - Reinhart
Kane - Eichel - Ennis
Girgensons - Larsson - Gionta
Deslauriers - Legwand - Moulson

Gorges - Ristolainen
McCabe - Bogosian
Weber - Franson

Goal: Chad Johnson