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Sabres at Blackhawks preview: O’Reilly to return

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The Sabres get some reinforcements in the lineup as they face Chicago tonight.

NHL: Buffalo Sabres at Chicago Blackhawks David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

Game #38

Buffalo Sabres (14-15-8) at Chicago Blackhawks (23-12-5)

Puck drop: 8:30 p.m. EST | United Center | Chicago, IL

TV: NBCSN | Stream: nbcsports.comRadio: WGR 550

SB Nation’s Blackhawks Blog: Second City Hockey

Two Questions

1. Will the Sabres be able to bring a strong, 60 minute effort two games in a row?

The Sabres came flying out the gate in their last game against a very good Rangers team, and owned them for most of that game, only faltering at the end of the second period. It was perhaps the team’s most impressive showing in weeks, if not the entire year.

Tonight the Sabres face another quality opponent on the road in the Chicago Blackhawks. Will they bring the same fire that we saw against the Rangers, or was last game more of an aberration?

2. How effective will Ryan O’Reilly be tonight?

Believe it or not, O’Reilly skated at practice yesterday, just ten days after his appendectomy. Here’s what he had to say about his status after the practice.

"I might be a little rusty, but I feel like I'm ready to get back. I still think I can be effective and it's just a matter of talking with all the management and staff to make sure everyone's safe with it and I'll be safe with it."

If O’Reilly does play, he will likely center the third line, with Eichel and Reinhart staying as the pivots up top. If O’Reilly is truly playing it safe tonight, how will that change his game, and what can he bring to the table that a player like Zemgus Girgensons couldn’t?

Projected BUF Lines

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

29 Jake McCabe - 55 Rasmus Ristolainen
Josh Gorges - 47 Zach Bogosian
41 Justin Falk - 6 Cody Franson

Goal: 31 Anders Nilsson