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Blackhawks vs. Sabres game preview 2015: Patrick Kane returns to Buffalo

Chicago looks for its eighth straight victory over Buffalo.

Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports

Patrick Kane returns to play in his hometown for the first time since being the subject of an offseason sexual assault investigation when the Chicago Blackhawks visit the Buffalo Sabres on Saturday.

It's been more than four months since Kane was accused of those allegations at his offseason home in Hamburg, N.Y. Kane was never charged nor suspended by the team for the distraction some believed the investigation brought to the team.

Kane leads the NHL with 47 points, and will look to help the Blackhawks to an eighth straight victory over the Sabres. Like it or not, Kane will probably receive a warm welcome from his hometown. It will be his first game in Buffalo since 2014, he missed last season's 4-3 Hawks' (18-11-4) victory April 3 with a broken clavicle. He has five goals and four assists in nine career games against the Sabres (14-16-3).

For the first time this season, the Hawks will be without Marcus Kruger, who will be out "approximately" four months after undergoing surgery to repair a disclosed left wrist. The Hawks recalled forward Phillip Danault from the AHL to fill in his spot on the fourth line.

Jonathan Toews got on the scoresheet with a goal and two assists in the Hawks' 4-0 victory over the Oilers on Thursday night. Toews has five goals and two assists in his last five games against the Sabres.

Corey Crawford, who will get the start in net, has recorded a shutout in three of his last four starts. He is 5-0-0 with a 1.80 goals-against average against Buffalo.

Projected lines:



Healthy scratch: Brandon Mashinter and David Rundblad

Opponent Breakdown

Buffalo Sabres | Record: 14-16-3 | 7th in Atlantic Division | Goal differential: -9

Chad Johnson stopped 44 shots and Evander Kane snapped a six-game goal drought as the Sabres beat the Anaheim Ducks 3-0 on Thursday at home. The Sabres have won four of their last five at home.

Johnson has played well at home, recording three straight wins with a 1.23 GAA in his last four games.

The Sabres top line is much different from a season ago with two Colorado transplants -- Ryan O'Reilly and Jamie McGinn -- joining rookie Sam Reinhart. O'Reilly leads the team with 28 points, but is scoreless in his last two games. Behind O'Reilly in points is defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen, who has 24 points including six in the last five games.

Of course, you can't talk about the Sabres without mentioning Jack Eichel, the second-overall pick in last summer's draft. The 19-year-old has 15 points in his first 33 games. He snapped a five-game pointless streak with an assist in Thursday's win.

Here's a quick rundown of the team's projected lines:




Blackhawks: Marcus Kruger

Sabres: Marcus Foligno, Tyler Ennis, Mark Pysyk, Robin Lehner, Cody McCormick

How to Watch

When: Noon CT

Where: First Niagara Center, Buffalo