Sabres at Panthers Preview: Sabres play a team almost as bad as they are

Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports

The lowest scoring team in the league will dress seven defensemen tonight in an effort to find their second win.

The Buffalo Sabres are limping in to Florida with a revamped lineup, thanks to suspensions, healthy scratches, and some NHL/AHL shuffling. John Scott won't be participating in tonight's contest thanks to his recent and indefinite suspension, and Kevin Porter has been swapped back to Rochester in favor of Cody McCormick. With Leino and Tropp still on the shelf recovering from injuries, the Sabres will dress only 11 forwards tonight and 7 defensemen.

One of those defensemen will not be Henrik Tallinder, who is out tonight in place of Jamie McBain. Nikita Zadorov will look to build on his very impressive opening two games while being paired with the suddenly consistent Tyler Myers. Will the Sabres find their second win tonight in the Sunshine State? Find out tonight, as the SABRES take on the FLORIDA PANTHERS for control of 13TH PLACE in the Eastern Conference! *cue helmet explosions*

Game #12

Buffalo Sabres (1-9-1) at Florida Panthers (3-6-1)

Puck Drop - 7:30pm EST - BB&T Center - Sunrise, FL
TV - MSG | Radio - WGR 550-AM
SBNation Panthers Blog - Litter Box Cats (Please play nice if you're going to visit.)

Three Things To Watch For

1. How will the rotation of seven defensemen work?

Some of the Sabres defensemen have been good this season - Ehrhoff, Pysyk, Myers, Zadorov. Others have been below average to terrible - McBain, Ristolainen, Weber. With an extra skater along the blue line, how will Ron Rolston juggle his seven defensemen to both keep Buffalo's net clear and his defensemen happy with their ice time?

2. Can the Sabres find their game tonight against another poor hockey team?

Florida isn't that much better than Buffalo this season, with just 7 points and a -13 goal differential through 10 games. We saw the Sabres perform well against a similarly bad Tampa team, so the hope would be that other terrible teams can bring out the best in Buffalo. Hey, don't laugh, it might be all we have this year.

3. How will the highly juggled forward lines produce?

Am I the only one who kinda loves all four of these lines? It seems that Mikhail Grigorenko will finally get bigger minutes with talented forwards, and both Tyler Ennis and Drew Stafford have seen big time demotions. Meanwhile, Brian Flynn could see time with Thomas Vanek and Cody Hodgson tonight, but will he be the beneficiary of them as many others have been, or just a hindrance to more talented players?

Projected BUF Lines

Vanek - Hodgson - Flynn
Foligno - Grigorenko - Ott
Girgensons - Larsson - Ennis
McCormick - Stafford

Ehrhoff - Pysyk
Zadorov - Myers
Weber- Ristolainen

Goal: Jhonas Enroth

Scratches/Injuries/Suspensions: Scott, Kaleta, Leino, Tallinder

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