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Sabres at Blackhawks Preview: Buffalo tries to bounce back in Chicago

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After a loss in their season opener, the Sabres travel to Chicago to take on the powerhouse Blackhawks.

Jonathan Daniel

Game #2

Buffalo Sabres (0-1-0) at 
Chicago Blackhawks (1-0-0)

Puck Drop - 8:30pm EST | United Center | Chicago, IL
TV - MSG, Bell-TV, CSN-CH | Radio - WGR 550 - AM
SB Nation Blackhawks Blog - Second City Hockey

Three Questions

1. How will the center swap work out?
The Sabres swapped second and third line centers, as Zemgus Girgensons will play between Hodgson and Gionta, while Sam Reinhart moves down to work with Foligno and Stewart. In the opener, Girgensons' line was the best on the ice, wreaking havok (as much as the Sabres can wreak havok) and creating scoring chances. Reinhart's line, on the other hand, was very quiet all night. The Sabres hope that swapping pivot men will help jump-start both lines.

2. Can Jhonas Enroth survive his first big test against Chicago?
Columbus has a decent offense, but the were missing a few of their big guns on Thursday. Chicago, on the other hand, scored the second-most goals last season and features two top lines with unbelievable talent. With the black hole of Mezaros and Benoit on defense, Enroth will need to have a very strong game in order to keep the Sabres in it to the end.

3. How will the Sabres bounce back from their first loss?
During the preseason, all we heard about was how things were different this year in Buffalo. Guys were more chatty on the ice, the atmosphere was positive, and most players came into camp in great shape.

Then, the first game happened, and the Sabres looked exactly like they did last year.

Tonight they'll face a much tougher test than they had against Columbus, as Chicago is a perennial top-five team in the NHL, with an offense that doesn't quit. Will the Sabres dig deep and rise to the level of their opposition, or did their effort on Thursday do too much to diminish their renewed spirits?

Projected BUF lines

Moulson - Ennis - Stafford
Hodgson - Girgensons - Gionta
Foligno - Reinhart  - Stewart
Deslauriers - Flynn - Mitchell

Gorges - Myers
Weber - Ristolainen
Benoit - Meszaros

Goal: Jhonas Enroth

Scratches/Injuries: McCormick, Kaleta, Pysyk, McCabe, Zadorov, Strachan

Projected CHI lines

Sharp - Toews - Hossa
Saad - Shaw - Kane
Bickell - Richards - Smith
Carcillo - Krueger - Morin

Keith - Seabrook
Hjalmarsson - Van Riemsdyk
Runblad - Oduya

Goal: Corey Crawford