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Sabres vs. Panthers preview: Ekblad, Reinhart face off in battle of top picks

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The top two picks in the 2014 draft will face off tonight in Buffalo as the Sabres take on the Panthers.

Bruce Bennett

Game #5

Buffalo Sabres (1-3-0) vs.
Florida Panthers (0-2-1)

Puck Drop: 7:00 pm EST | First Niagara Center | Buffalo, NY
TV: MSG, Bell, FS-F | Radio: WGR 550
SB Nation Panthers Blog: Litter Box Cats

Three Questions

1. Who will look better - the #1 or #2 pick in the 2014 draft?

All eyes will be on the first two picks of the 2014 draft - Aaron Ekblad and Sam Reinhart - who will both be in the lineup tonight. While most Sabres fans preferred the team to take one of the top forwards as opposed to Ekblad, the #1 pick has looked very solid in his young NHL career, while Reinhart has struggled against bigger, more experienced competition. Sam will be on the fourth line tonight, and might not see much time against Ekblad directly, but a strong game tonight will go a ways towards easing Sabres fans concerns with his development.

2. Will the team continue to get secondary scoring?

Previous to the game against Carolina, only Tyler Ennis and Zemgus Girgensons had scored for the Sabres, but the team finally got some help this week in the form of Marcus Foligno and Torrey Mitchell. They'll need some other players to step up if they want to turn one victory into a winning streak.

3. Can Meszaros bounce back after his healthy scratch?

Two of the Sabres defensive free agents brought in this year have been downright terrible though the first four games, and Andrej Meszaros earned a seat in the press box for his efforts. The Sabres need both he and Andre Benoit to bounce back quickly from their poor starts in order to avoid having to play Myers and Gorges for 39 minutes per game.

Projected BUF Lineup

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

Gorges - Myers
Weber - Meszaros
Benoit - Ristolainen

Goal: Jhonas Enroth