Buffalo Sabres (3-3-2) at Minnesota Wild (6-2-1)
Puck drop: 8:00 p.m. EST | Xcel Energy Center | St. Paul, MN
TV: MSG-B, NHL.TV | Radio: WGR 550
SB Nation Wild Blog: Hockey Wilderness
1. Can the top line of Moulson, O’Reilly, and Okposo stay hot?
The Moulson-O’Reilly-Okposo line has been on fire as of late, totaling 11 goals this season and driving the team’s #1 power play unit. They’re also driving some nice possession numbers along the way, churning out a Corsi number over 52%. The Wild have gotten off to a hot start, so this trio continuing to score will help keep pace with the third highest scoring team in the league.
2. Will the Sabres get some offensive contributions from the rest of the team?
On the other hand, while it’s great to have a red-hot #1 line, the entire rest of the Sabres roster has combined for just nine goals, including a whopping zero from the defense. In fact, outside of Ristolainen, the Sabres defense has combined for just five total points, compared to 11 for the Wild outside of Ryan Suter, who has ten on his own.
3. Who wins the special teams battle?
The Sabres are conveniently ranked seventh in the league in both power play and penalty kill percentage, but are going up against the #1 penalty kill in the NHL. The Wild have allowed just one power play goal all season, and while their own power play is pretty lackluster (ranked #24) their stifling PK could take away one of Buffalo’s best weapons.
Projected BUF Lines
26 Matt Moulson - 90 Ryan O'Reilly - 21 Kyle Okposo
63 Tyler Ennis - 28 Zemgus Girgensons - 23 Sam Reinhart
82 Marcus Foligno - 22 Johan Larsson - 12 Brian Gionta
56 Justin Bailey - 27 Derek Grant - 73 Nick Baptiste
4 Josh Gorges - 55 Rasmus Ristolainen
77 Dmitry Kulikov - 47 Zach Bogosian
29 Jake McCabe - 6 Cody Franson
Goal: 40 Robin Lehner