Devils-Sabres Preview

Injuries are starting to take their toll on the New Jersey Devils, and goaltender Keith Kinkaid may have to come to the rescue.

Reigning MVP Taylor Hall has missed six consecutive games with a lower-body injury, and fellow top-six forward Marcus Johansson has been out eight straight with an upper-body ailment.

The injury bug has also found its way into the crease for the Devils (16-18-7, 39 points), forcing Kinkaid to likely shoulder the burden when New Jersey closes out its four-game road trip (1-2-0) at Buffalo's KeyBank Center on Tuesday night.

Mackenzie Blackwood made five consecutive starts after Cory Schneider's abdominal strain in mid-December and was victorious in his first three, posting a 3-2 record with a 1.83 goals against and a .947 save percentage in the five games.

However, Blackwood suffered a lower-body injury in the first period in the Devils' 3-2 victory over the Arizona Coyotes on Friday, opening the door for Kinkaid to step in, make 15 saves and earn the win in the second game of the four-game road trip.

"I just want to do my job. It was good to get some reps in there right now," Kinkaid, who had not played since Dec. 23, told the media following that game. "Just about feeling the puck after not playing in a game for about two weeks, and just getting back into game shape."

New Jersey called up netminder Cam Johnson from affiliate Binghamton on Sunday, making room by sending down defenseman Egor Yakovlev to the AHL club. On Monday, the team called Yakovlev back up to the big club and sent center John Quenneville to Binghamton.

Kinkaid did take a loss in the following game, however. Nico Hischier scored his 12th goal and Ben Lovejoy netted his first to give the Devils a 2-0 first-period lead in the desert on Sunday, but the sizzling Golden Knights scored the next three for a 3-2 win.

New Jersey dropped to 5-14-3 on the road with the loss, and Kinkaid - who is responsible for 13 of the Devils' 16 wins - stopped 25 of 28 shots.

Buffalo (22-14-6, 50 points) has injury concerns of its own as two-thirds of the first line are either injured or missed practice Monday.

Star center Jack Eichel (upper body) has missed the last two games, and right wing Sam Reinhart (illness) was absent when the Sabres hit the ice for Monday morning's practice.

Eichel, however, was on the ice for practice. He took part in drills and worked on both power-play units, though he did not play with his regular wingers in line rushes.

Vladimir Sobotka slid into Eichel's spot as Buffalo ran through its lines, and Tage Thompson took Reinhart's place. Jeff Skinner, who has a team-leading 28 goals, occupied his usual position at left wing.

"Jack practicing is a good sign, but we'll know more tomorrow," Buffalo coach Phil Housley told the media following practice.

Casey Mittelstadt centering the top line is also an option for Buffalo, and Housley bumped up the Minnesota native to play with Skinner and Reinhart late in Saturday's 2-1 loss in Boston.

The Sabres are getting back right wing Zemgus Girgensons, who has been out with an upper-body injury the last four games. Girgensons scrimmaged on the third line with C.J. Smith and Mittelstadt.

Housley said the status and availability of Eichel, Girgensons and Reinhart would be decided before Tuesday night's game.

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