Buffalo Sabres (28-30-12) at Los Angeles Kings (33-29-7)
Puck drop: 10:30 p.m. EST | Staples Center | Los Angeles, CA
TV: MSG, FS-W | Radio: WGR 550
SB Nation’s Kings Blog: Jewels from the Crown
1. Will the Sabres show any more fight tonight than they did against San Jose?
The Sabres were handily outplayed for about 50 minutes in their last game against San Jose, and with the season all but over it would be easy for them to simply pack it in for the remaining dozen games at the first sign of trouble. As someone who is obligated to watch those dozen games, I sincerely hope they don’t. As someone who’s watched (almost) every other game this season, I worry that they will when things inevitably turn south at some point tonight.
2. What will Jack Eichel do tonight?
"Stupid lazy writer, keeps asking the same question every game." Well, when Eichel stops scoring so dang much (now up to 27 points in his last 20 games) we’ll stop asking. We’ll also be keeping an eye on Hudson Fasching, making his return to the Sabres after recovering from injury down in Rochester. He’ll be playing on the third line in place of Justin Bailey, who was dinged up against the Sharks. Also joining him from the Amerks is Taylor Fedun, who is in for Falk tonight.
3. What will Buffalo’s puck possession look like?
And we’re talking about physically possessing the puck, not just their Corsi numbers here. LA leads the league in hits by a mile with 2,025 - almost 200 hits more than the second place team. They’re also dead last in the league in takeaways while being in the bottom third of giveaways. To me this reads like a team which (much like the Sabres) doesn’t have control of the puck very much. If Buffalo can string together some good outlet passes (I know, I know) and stay away from the LA meat grinder along the boards, they’ve got a rare shot to out-possess their opponent tonight.
Projected Buffalo Lines
9 Evander Kane -- 90 Ryan O'Reilly -- 12 Brian Gionta
26 Matt Moulson -- 15 Jack Eichel -- 23 Sam Reinhart
82 Marcus Foligno -- 71 Evan Rodrigues -- 52 Hudson Fasching
44 Nicolas Deslauriers -- 28 Zemgus Girgensons -- 63 Tyler Ennis
29 Jake McCabe -- 55 Rasmus Ristolainen
4 Josh Gorges -- 6 Cody Franson
38 Taylor Fedun -- 47 Zach Bogosian
Goal: 40 Robin Lehner