Buffalo Sabres (10-11-6) vs. Los Angeles Kings (14-11-2)
Puck drop: 7:00 p.m. EST | KeyBank Center | Buffalo, NY
TV: MSG, FS-W | Radio: WGR 550
SB Nation’s Kings Blog: Jewels From The Crown
1. Will new lines generate new offense?
Kyle Okposo and Sam Reinhart swapped lines at practice yesterday, in the hopes of generating more, or any, 5-on-5 offense. The Sabres are the only team in the league yet to crack 60 goals for this season, currently sitting at 55. While five goals might be a bit much to expect tonight, they’ll need a few to beat the Kings, who are more than a half-goal better per game than Buffalo this season.
2. Who will be the more physical team tonight?
This version of the Los Angeles Kings has always been physical, but the Kings lead the NHL this season in hits with 825, while the Sabres are in the middle of the pack with 621. The LA forecheck drives their offense, so being able to match their intensity and physicality tonight at both ends of the ice will help the Sabres immensely.
3. Can the Sabres continue their dominance of the Pacific Division?
Believe it or not, the Sabres are 11-0-3 in their last 14 games against the Pacific, and they’re especially good at home - it’s been two years since a team from the Pacific has won in Buffalo, and the Sabres are 8-1-3 in their last 12 games against anyone from the West. Between the Sabres and Kings, the home team has won the last 12 games. Oh, and ROR and Kane both have nine points in their last nine games against the Kings. So you’re telling me there’s a chance...
Projected BUF Lines
48 William Carrier - 90 Ryan O’Reilly - 23 Sam Reinhart
9 Evander Kane - 15 Jack Eichel - 21 Kyle Okposo
82 Marcus Foligno - 22 Johan Larsson - 12 Brian Gionta
26 Matt Moulson - 27 Derek Grant - 28 Zemgus Girgensons
29 Jake McCabe - 55 Rasmus Ristolainen
77 Dmitry Kulikov - 6 Cody Franson
4 Josh Gorges - 41 Justin Falk
Goal: 40 Robin Lehner