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Sabres at Sharks: Game Preview

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Buffalo opens four-game West Coast road trip

NHL: Buffalo Sabres at San Jose Sharks Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports

Game #4

San Jose Sharks (0-2-0) vs. Buffalo Sabres (0-2-1)

Puck drop: 10:30 p.m. EST | SAP Center | San Jose, CA

TV: MSG

Radio: WGR 550

SB Nation Sharks blog: Fear the Fin

What to Watch For

1. Who will secure their first win?

The Sabres and Sharks are both looking for their first win of the season, and something's gotta give tonight as the teams come to a head. The season is still young, but the Sabres have been outscored 15-7 in three games. While they opened the season with a shootout loss, the last two games have been blowouts.

On the other hand, the Sharks have been outscored 9-4 in two games and have faced two- and three-goal margins in their pair of losses. San Jose hasn't played since last Saturday, so they've had some time off between games - which could be a good thing or a bad thing.

Which of these two teams will get their first win of the season tonight?

2. Will Evander Kane continue his offensive spark?

Kane is the hottest - and maybe the *only* hot - player on the Sabres at this point. He heads into tonight's game coming off consecutive multi-goal games and will look to continue that in his 500th NHL game (assuming he plays).

For more on Kane's offensive spark, check out the piece I wrote earlier this week.

3. Will Josh Gorges slot into the lineup? (And more roster changes)

The defenseman has not played yet this season for Buffalo, but could find a spot in the lineup tonight or at some point during the team's West Coast trip. Gorges was on the third D pairing with Jake McCabe during practice Wednesday, with Victor Antipin and Matt Moulson practicing together as an extra pair.

In addition to that change, head coach Phil Housley changed up the lines elsewhere, too. Zemgus Girgensons skated on the top line with Jack Eichel and Jason Pominville, while Evander Kane was on the second line with Ryan O'Reilly and Kyle Okposo. Johan Larsson moved to center, with Sam Reinhart on his wing.

While we don't know the exact lineup for Thursday's game yet, it'll be interesting to see if any of these changes stick, and what some of these new combinations could mean for the team's chemistry going forward.

Projected Lines

28 Zemgus Girgensons - 15 Jack Eichel - 29 Jason Pominville

9 Evander Kane - 90 Ryan O'Reilly - 26 Matt Moulson

67 Benoit Pouliot - 22 Johan Larsson - 23 Sam Reinhart

25 Seth Griffith - 10 Jacob Josefson - 17 Jordan Nolan

6 Marco Scandella - 55 Rasmus Ristolainen

82 Nathan Beaulieu - 5 Matt Tennyson

4 Josh Gorges - 19 Jake McCabe

Starting Goaltender: #40 Robin Lehner