Puck drop: 7:00 p.m. EST | KeyBank Center | Buffalo, NY
TV: MSG, TVAS, SN | Radio: WGR 550
SB Nation’s Senators Blog: Silver Seven
1. How will Justin Bailey look, and will he get time with the top lines?
Since being sent back to Rochester after his first stint in Buffalo this year, Bailey has been on fire. He’s got 11 goals in his last 12 games for the Amerks, and deserves another chance with the Sabres now that Will Carrier will be out for a bit with a knee injury.
Bailey will start on the fourth line with Ennis and Deslauriers, but as they did with him last time he was here, Bailey should rotate in with Eichel and Reinhart’s line tonight. Will his AHL hot streak translate to NHL glory? Or will he be stuck playing limited minutes all night?
2. How will the defense play with this dramatic change in personnel?
The Sabres get two players returning from injury tonight, as Jake McCabe and Josh Gorges will both return. Sitting tonight will be Zach Bogosian (rib injury, day-to-day) and Taylor Fedun (being Taylor Fedun, lifetime condition.)
We couldn’t find info on who will pair with who tonight, so that’s our best guess below, but I certainly wouldn’t mind seeing McCabe reunite with Rasmus Ristolainen.
3. How fashionable are these new goalie pants?
Tonight marks the official debut of the NHL’s new goalie pants, or at least the first time that wearing them will be mandatory for all teams. Robin Lehner has had the pants all year, and doesn’t see any issue wearing them, as he told The Buffalo News. "I don't see any problems with them. After you use them a little bit they flatten out a little bit. I don't think it's going to be a big deal," says Lehner.
Projected Buffalo Lines
26 Matt Moulson - 90 Ryan O’Reilly - 21 Kyle Okposo
82 Marcus Foligno - 15 Jack Eichel - 23 Sam Reinhart
9 Evander Kane - 28 Zemgus Girgensons - 12 Brian Gionta
56 Justin Bailey - 44 Nic Deslauriers - 63 Tyler Ennis
77 Dmitry Kulikov - 55 Rasmus Ristolainen
29 Jake McCabe - 6 Cody Franson
41 Justin Falk - 4 Josh Gorges
Goal: 40 Robin Lehner