Buffalo Sabres (2-5-0) vs.
New Jersey Devils (3-3-1)
The Buffalo Sabres goaltending situation was always going to be the biggest question heading in to this season, but what we thought was going to be a question of whether or not Robin Lehner was the answer has turned into a much larger question after Lehner went down with an injury earlier this year.
Chad Johnson stepped in and performed admirably, until last night's disastrous outing. Today, in their second game of a back-to-back, the Sabres turn to their best goaltending prospect, Swedish netminder Linus Ullmark, who will make his NHL debut tonight against the New Jersey Devils.
Ullmark, who made a speedy recovery from double hip surgery, has played three games for the Rochester Americans, posting a .932 save percentage so far. The former sixth round pick is just 22 years old, and has the prototypical size at 6'4'' that Tim Murray loves. How well will Ullmark look tonight in his first NHL game? Funny you should ask...
1. How will Linus Ullmark play in his NHL debut?
With the injury to Robin Lehner, and with Chad Johnson looking terrible last night, the Sabres have turned to Linus Ullmark, who will get a chance to impress at the NHL level and put his name into the hat for goaltender of the future. Neither Chad Johnson or Lehner have shown enough consistency to put a stranglehold on that position, while Ullmark has shown continuous improvement in his game and has already played at multiple professional levels. Tonight won't determine whether or not he can handle the NHL game, but it is the first chapter in that story.
2. Will Jack Eichel channel his "growing frustration" in a positive or negative way?
Jack Eichel has been one of the Sabres best players, generating numerous chances for himself and his teammates, but without much result. Stuck on two goals, the Buffalo News reported that Eichel is growing frustrated with his lack of production despite creating chances. He has two spectacular goals, but is also a team-worst -6. How will he respond tonight?
Projected BUF lines
Weber - Franson