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Goalie nods: Sabres give rookie Ullmark first NHL start

Sweden Slovakia Ice Hockey

Sweden’s goalie Linus Ullmark, center, focuses on the puck while Slovakia’s Jan Sykora, right, attacks during the friendly national ice hockey match between Sweden and Slovakia in Oskarshamn, Sweden, Wednesday April 3, 2013. (AP Photo / Scanpix Sweden / Mikael Fritzon) SWEDEN OUT


Earlier this season, the Buffalo Sabres were dealt a huge blow when they found out they’d be without starting goaltender Robin Lehner for 6-10 weeks because of an ankle sprain.

They decided that they wouldn’t seek help from outside the organization, and they turned the starting job to career backup Chad Johnson.

As expected, Johnson hasn’t looked very good since taking over. The 29-year-old has a 2-5-0 record to go along with a 3.06 goals-against-average and a .879 save percentage this season.

On Saturday, the Sabres coaching staff decided it was time to put a fresh face between the pipes.

Ullmark was Buffalo’s sixth round, 163rd overall, in the 2012 draft.

He underwent hip surgery this off-season and after a few impressive starts in the AHL, the Sabres are ready to give him his first opportunity.

He’ll be going up against Cory Schneider and the New Jersey Devils.


Frederik Andersen is the likely starter for the Ducks. The Wild will counter with Devan Dubnyk.

Jonathan Bernier will get his second crack at the Montreal Canadiens this season. Carey Price will try to propel Montreal to a 9-0-0 record tonight.

Anders Lindback will make his first start of the 2015-16 season for Arizona. Craig Anderson and his 3-1-1 record will be in goal for Ottawa.

Henrik Lundqvist will be between the pipes for the Rangers, while the Flyers turn to Steve Mason. The Flyers recalled Jason LaBarbera to serve as Mason’s backup because Michal Neuvirth is sidelined with an injury.

The Florida Pantheres will go with Al Montoya tonight. The Stars turn to Kari Lehtonen after Antti Niemi defeated the Penguins on Thursday.

Marc-Andre Fleury is likely to start for Pittsburgh. Nashville should counter with Pekka Rinne.

Jaroslav Halak may get an opportunity to face his old team tonight. St. Louis will go with Brian Elliott, who has a perfect 4-0-0 record this season.

After putting Kevin Poulin on waivers on Saturday, the Lightning are expected to go with Kristers Gudlevskis in Chicago. The ‘Hawks will turn to Corey Crawford in a rematch of last year’s Stanley Cup final.

Columbus, still looking for their first win this season, will likely turn to a struggling Sergei Bobrovsky. Semyon Varlamov will be between the pipes for Colorado. Varlamov is coming off a 1-0 shutout win over Carolina.

Petr Mrazek will get his third start in four games for Detroit. The Canucks are likely to counter with Ryan Miller, who is 0-2-1 in his last three starts.

Cam Ward and Martin Jones are expected to square off when Carolina travels to San Jose. After starting the season 4-0, Jones has lost back-to-back games while allowing eight goals in the process.