Buffalo Sabres (1-2-2) vs Minnesota Wild (4-2-1)
Puck drop: 7:00 p.m. EST | KeyBank Center | Buffalo, NY
TV: MSG-B, FS-N, FS-WI | Radio: WGR 550
SB Nation Wild Blog: Hockey Wilderness
1. How will Anders Nilsson play in his second straight game?
Back up goaltender Anders Nilsson will start again as Robin Lehner is still not well. He looked pretty good at the Philadelphia Flyers on Tuesday, but got hung out to dry as the Sabres collapsed and blew a big lead in the third period.
The Wild have been scoring for fun this season and have belied earlier predictions that they will be basement dwellers. With 24 goals in seven games, the Sabres could struggle to keep them out.
2. Can the Sabres show the willpower to get and subsequently hold a lead?
Having key players (Jack Eichel, Evander Kane) out doesn’t help, but questions have been asked of not only the leaders on the team but also of the coaching tactics from Dan Bylsma. The Sabres went into ‘Alamo-mode’ in the third period in Philly. In Calgary it was the same as they sat back on three one-goal leads.
Plenty of players, young and old, have talked about being better, but can they really show some improvement tonight?
3. Will either team show up ready to play the first period?
The Sabres have just three goals in opening periods, while the Wild are even slower, with two. Minnesota have scored 15 times in the second period, so if the Sabres are to win tonight they’re going to have to get off to a good start, and then sustain the pressure in the second and third periods to get the two points.
Projected BUF Lines
26 Matt Moulson - 90 Ryan O'Reilly - 21 Kyle Okposo
63 Tyler Ennis - 23 Sam Reinhart - 28 Zemgus Girgensons
82 Marcus Foligno - 22 Johan Larsson - 12 Brian Gionta
52 Hudson Fasching - 27 Derek Grant - 44 Nicolas Deslauriers
4 Josh Gorges - 55 Rasmus Ristolainen
77 Dmitry Kulikov - 47 Zach Bogosian
29 Jake McCabe - 6 Cody Franson
Goal: 31 Anders Nilsson