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Sabres vs. Devils preview: Falk in for Kulikov, O'Reilly hopeful to play

The Sabres face the Devils tonight in the first game of a home-and-home.

NHL: New Jersey Devils at Buffalo Sabres Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports

Game #14

Buffalo Sabres (5-5-3) vs. New Jersey Devils (6-3-3)

Puck drop: 7:00 p.m. EST | KeyBank Center | Buffalo, NY

TV: MSG-B, MSG+ | Radio: WGR 550

SB Nation’s Devils Blog: All About the Jersey

Three Questions

1. Will anyone score tonight?

The Sabres and Devils are the two lowest-scoring teams in the Eastern Conference, with 26 and 28 goals for apiece. They’re also two of the best defensive teams in the league, with both being in the top five in the NHL with less than 30 goals against.

Ryan O’Reilly practiced this morning and says he’s back in tonight, though Dan Bylsma notes he’ll be a game-time decision. Should ROR play, that’ll be a big boost to the Sabres offense. The Sabres have scored just six goals in five games at home this year, which is pretty GD awful, and Dan Bylsma is trying to make sure the team realizes that shot volume doesn’t mean much if they’re mostly poor quality shots. Let’s hope his message gets through and we get some goal tonight.

2. How long will Anders Nilsson’s shutout streak last?

In Anders Nilsson’s last game on October 29, he shut out the Florida Panthers with a 33 save effort. New Jersey’s offense isn’t exactly lighting the league on fire (said the pot to the kettle) so this could be a good chance to see how far Nilsson can keep this shutout streak going.

3. How will Justin Falk look in his Sabres debut?

Falk is in for the injured Dmitry Kulikov, who joins the never-ending Russian nesting doll of Sabres injuries. Falk is a veteran with 171 NHL games under his belt, but his call-up tonight leaves a thin Sabres blueline even thinner, putting more pressure on Ristolainen and Anders Nilsson to have another huge effort tonight in order to keep the scoresheet clean.

Projected BUF Lines

26 Matt Moulson - 90 Ryan O'Reilly - 21 Kyle Okposo
9 Evander Kane - 28 Zemgus Girgensons - 23 Sam Reinhart
82 Marcus Foligno - 22 Johan Larsson - 12 Brian Gionta
48 William Carrier - 27 Derek Grant - 73 Nicholas Baptiste

4 Josh Gorges - 55 Rasmus Ristolainen
41 Justin Falk - 34 Casey Nelson
29 Jake McCabe - 6 Cody Franson

Goal: 31 Anders Nilsson