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Sabres vs. Lightning Preview: Hasek's Hall of Fame night, Girgensons returns

The Dominator returns to Buffalo tonight as the Sabres try to channel some hometown love into a much needed win against the Lightning.

Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Spor

Game #74

Buffalo Sabres (20-45-8) vs. Tampa Bay Lightning (40-24-9)

Puck Drop - 7:00pm EST - First Niagara Center - Buffalo, NY

TV - MSG, SUN | Radio - WGR 550 - AM
SB Nation Lightning Blog
- Raw Charge

Three Questions

1. Does the return of Zemgus Girgensons mean the return of the Sabres looking like they actually care?
After sitting out the road trip with an injury, Girgensons finally, mercifully, returns tonight. In his morning interview, head coach Ted Nolan called him "a life-changer" thanks to his demeanor on the ice. He'll be paired CodyHodgson (again playing the wing) and Brian Flynn, and can hopefully help to spark a recently-listless group of forwards.

2. How will Matt Hackett handle getting pulled in his last start?
Last time Hackett was in the Sabres net, he gave up four goals to the Predators and was pulled during the intermission in favor of Nathan Lieuwen. Hackett has a reputation in Rochester as a hothead, and had trouble controlling his temper earlier in the season. Will we see flashes of immaturity in the crease, or will Hackett show he can respond in a positive way to adversity?

3. What will Dominik Hasek's HOF induction look like?
Alternate question: how cool is it that the Dominator is back in the Sabres extended family? He'll be inducted into the team hall of fame tonight, and the Sabres have already announced that he'll have his #39 retired sometime next season. We're just excited to watch this one.

Projected BUF lines

Conacher - Ennis - Stafford
Hodgson - Girgensons - Flynn
Foligno - Larsson - D'Agostini
Scott - Ellis - Deslauriers

Ehrhoff - Ristolainen
Tallinder - Ruhwedel
Weber - McBain

Goal: Matt Hackett

Scratches/Injuries: Leino, Myers, Konopka, Stewart, Sulzer, Enroth, Neuvirth