Buffalo Sabres (12-12-8) at New York Islanders (12-14-6)
Puck drop: 7:00 p.m. EST | Barclays Center | Brooklyn, NY
TV: MSG-B, MSG+ | Radio: WGR 550
SB Nation’s Islanders Blog: Lighthouse Hockey
1. Will we see any more lineup shenanigans from Bylsma, and how will Jack respond to his benching?
We’re begging you, Dan, keep Jack on the top power play unit. Also please don’t play Nic Deslauriers. Like, ever.
As for Eichel, he’s suffering through a bit of a slump right now, with no points in his last four games. He was fired up last night in the locker room after getting smoked by the Hurricanes, so I’d suspect he comes out hot tonight.
2. How will the Sabres start the game tonight?
After placing a ton of importance on getting off to a good start before yesterday’s game against Carolina, the Sabres went out and gave up two first period goals en route a 3-1 loss. Seeing as how they’re playing the wrong end of back-to-back games tonight, getting off to a fast start will be even more important to give them a chance with tired legs in the third period.
3. Will the Sabres send their fans into the holiday break feeling naughty, or nice?
The Sabres get three days off for Christmas after tonight’s game, and so do many of us reading. The holidays often mean time spent with family and friends, and that inevitably means arguing about sports in order to avoid arguing about politics. These parties will be much more bearable if our most recent Sabres memories are of a convincing, bounce-back win rather than horrible back-to-back losses.
Projected BUF Lines
82 Marcus Foligno - 90 Ryan O’Reilly - 23 Sam Reinhart
26 Matt Moulson - 15 Jack Eichel - 21 Kyle Okposo
9 Evander Kane - 22 Johan Larsson - 12 Brian Gionta
44 Nicolas Deslauriers - 27 Derek Grant - 28 Zemgus Girgensons
29 Jake McCabe - 55 Rasmus Ristolainen
77 Dmitry Kulikov - 47 Zach Bogosian
4 Josh Gorges - 41 Justin Falk
Goal: 31 Anders Nilsson