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Sabres vs. Coyotes preview: The Battle for the Basement, Part I

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In what might sadly be called the biggest game of the season, the Sabres host the Coyotes with 30th place on the line.

Jennifer Stewart-USA TODAY Sports

Game #74

Buffalo Sabres (20-46-7) vs.
Arizona Coyotes (22-44-8)

Puck Drop: 7:00 pm EST | First Niagara Center | Buffalo, NY
TV: MSG, Bell, FS-A | Radio: WGR 550
SB Nation Coyotes Blog: Five For Howling

Three Questions

1. Patrick Kaleta and Zach Bogosian will both return to the lineup tonight - what kind of impact will they have on the game?

Zach Bogosian has been a stalwart on defense since coming over from Winnipeg, often leading the team in ice time, so his return should solidify the Sabres blue line. Kaleta's return is more of an emotional one, but will he be able to lift the Sabres spirits with any on-ice production?

2. Which goalie will help (or hurt) his team more?

Both Matt Hackett and Mike Smith have had very up-and-down (mostly down) seasons for their respective teams, and tonight's game could very well come down to which goalie implodes less than the other. As Sabres fans, we've become used to goalies stealing unwanted points.

3. Was their last five-goal outburst the beginning of a turnaround for the Coyotes bad luck, or simply an outlier in their awful season-ending run?

After going weeks with a shooting percentage so small you'd nee a microscope to find it, the Yotes busted out for five goals against Detroit. Will they continue to get better puck luck or was that a one-night-only deal?

Projected BUF lines

Moulson - Larsson - Ennis
Foligno - Grigorenko - Gionta
Dalpe - Varone - Hodgson
Deslauriers - Ellis - Kaleta

Weber - Ristolainen
Benoit - Bogosian
Zadorov - Meszaros

Goal: Matt Hackett