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Sabres at Lightning Preview: Bishop returns

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Ben Bishop returns from injury as the Sabres travel down to Tampa.

NHL: Tampa Bay Lightning at Buffalo Sabres Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports

Game #41

Buffalo Sabres (16-15-9) at Tampa Bay Lightning (19-19-4)

Puck drop: 7:30 p.m. EST | Amalie Arena | Tampa Bay, FL

TV: MSG, SUN | Radio: WGR 550

SB Nation’s Lightning Blog: Raw Charge

Three Questions

1. Will Jack and Sam play together again, and will Reinhart continue his hot streak?

They didn’t start the last game together, but when we saw Jack Eichel and Sam Reinhart on the same line during the second period, we saw just how dangerous these two can be when paired together. They’re slated once again to start on different lines, but we’ll see how Dan Bylsma shuffles the deck tonight if things don’t go as planned.

While Eichel is on a neat little point streak of his own - six points in seven games - it’s Reinhart who’s been on fire recently, scoring 12 points in his last 10. If they get paired up for any significant time tonight, I’d bet on that total increasing.

2. How will the Sabres attack the returning Ben Bishop?

Lightning goalie Ben Bishop will play his first game tonight since Dec. 20, when he suffered a lower body injury. After missing nine games, Bishop hoped to turn around the Lightning’s four-game losing streak.

Bishop hasn’t had a Vezina-caliber season like he’s had in years past, coming in to tonight’s game with a .907 save percentage, but his return could give the rest of the team a boost. The Sabres should look to test him early and often.

3. Will the Sabres earn their first five-game point streak since 2012?

Yes, incredibly it has been almost fiveyears [Edited for poor math skills] since the Buffalo Sabres organization has had a five-game point streak, but after going 3-0-1 in their last four games, the team has the chance to do just that tonight.

Projected Buffalo Lines

48 William Carrier - 90 Ryan O’Reilly - 21 Kyle Okposo
82 Marcus Foligno - 15 Jack Eichel - 12 Brian Gionta
Evander Kane - 23 Sam Reinhart - 56 Justin Bailey
44 Nicolas Deslauriers - 28 Zemgus Girgensons - 26 Matt Moulson

29 Jake McCabe - 55 Rasmus Ristolainen
47 Zach Bogosian - 6 Cody Franson
41 Justin Falk - 38 Taylor Fedun

Goal: 31 Anders Nilsson