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Sabres vs. Avalanche preview: Old friends

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Girgorenko and Zadorov return to Buffalo as Ryan O’Reilly and the Sabres face some old pals.

NHL: Ottawa Senators at Buffalo Sabres Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports

Game #58

Buffalo Sabres (24-23-10) vs. Colorado Avalanche (15-37-2)

Puck drop: 7:30 p.m. EST | KeyBank Center | Buffalo, NY

TV: NBCSN | Radio: WGR 550 | Stream: NBCSports.com

SB Nation’s Avalanche Blog: Mile High Hockey

Three Questions

1. How will all the pieces in the O’Reilly trade fare against the old mates?

Arguing over who won the trade that brought Ryan O’Reilly to Buffalo is silly at this point, but tonight will be the rare chance for Sabres fans to relive the glory days of Mikhail Grigorenko and Nikita Zadorov. ROR played a strong game on Tuesday, and it helped Kyle Okposo and Justin Bailey look dangerous all night long.

2. Will Evander Kane play?

Kane skated this morning, but coach Dan Blysma only said, "Hopefully," when asked whether Kane would play tonight. The Sabres best winger over the past few months is recovering from an illness, and it would likely lead to Matt Moulson playing bigger minutes if Kane can’t go. The difference between the Eichel-Reinhart pairing when put with Kane rather than Moulson is drastic, so let’s hope #9 can go tonight.

3. Can the Sabres take care of business in a game they should win?

You can probably count on one hand the number of times the Sabres have been strong favorites heading in to a game, so they’re in an unusual spot against the Avs, who are playing like Buffalo from two years ago. Colorado has lost ten in a row on the road, and has no road victories in 2017.

On the other hand, the Sabres are the Sabres and have a stupidly awful record playing on Thursdays (1-10-2) so you never know.

Projected Buffalo Lines

56 Justin Bailey - 90 Ryan O’Reilly - 21 Kyle Okposo
9 Evander Kane - 15 Jack Eichel - 23 Sam Reinhart
82 Marcus Foligno - 71 Evan Rodrigues - 12 Brian Gionta
26 Matt Moulson - 27 Derek Grant - 63 Tyler Ennis

29 Jake McCabe - 55 Rasmus Ristolainen
41 Justin Falk - 47 Zach Bogosian
Josh Gorges - 77 Dmitry Kulikov

Goal: 40 Robin Lehner