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Sabres vs. Sharks preview: You Can Play night

The Sabres look to shake of the sting of last night’s loss by hosting a team that’s been very friendly towards them.

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NHL: Buffalo Sabres at San Jose Sharks John Hefti-USA TODAY Sports

Game #53

Buffalo Sabres (21-21-10) vs. San Jose Sharks (33-17-3)

Puck drop: 7:00 p.m. EST | KeyBank Center | Buffalo, NY

TV: MSG | Radio: WGR 550

SB Nation’s Sharks Blog: Fear the Fin

Two Questions

1. How will Anders Nilsson perform tonight?

Nilsson has cooled off over the past month since his red-hot start to the season, and in his last appearance on January 26, gave up four goals to the Stars. With Robin Lehner playing very well of late, Nilsson will need a great game to push for more playing time.

Tonight is also special for Nilsson, as he was named as the team’s LGBTQ-inclusion Amnbassador earlier this month. The Sabres have designated tonight as "You Can Play Night," supporting the You Can Play project which encourages inclusion and respect in sports for people of all genders, orientations, and identities. Nilsson’s addition of a rainbow flag on his helmet earlier this year prompted him to speak out in support of LGBTQ rights.

Representatives from the Gay & Lesbian Youth Services as well as the Pride Center of WNY will be on hand, the team will be warming up using (the awesome) rainbow Pride Tape on their sticks, they are selling special You Can Play Sabres gear, and videos supporting You Can Play will be shown throughout the night, including one featuring Harrison Browne of the Buffalo Beauts, who last year became the first openly transgender athlete to compete in a North American pro sports league.

2. Can the Sabres continue their weird dominance over San Jose?

Over their last ten games together, the Sabres have smoked the Sharks to the tune of 9-0-1, and when playing at home the streak is almost as good, sitting at 8-1-1. No, we don’t understand it either, but iafter sitting through last night’s snoozer of a loss, it would be nice if the Sabres could continue.

Projected Buffalo Lines

26 Matt Moulson - 90 Ryan O’Reilly - 21 Kyle Okposo
82 Marcus Foligno - 15 Jack Eichel - 23 Sam Reinhart
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
Josh Gorges - 41 Justin Falk

Goal: 31 Anders Nilsson