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Sabres at Ducks preview: St. Patrick’s Day Showdown

The Sabres will look to bounce back from two demoralizing losses with a visit to Anaheim.

NHL: Buffalo Sabres at Anaheim Ducks Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Game #72

Buffalo Sabres (28-31-12) at Anaheim Ducks (37-23-10)

Puck drop: 10:00 p.m. EST | Honda Center | Anaheim, CA

TV: MSG, FS-W | Radio: WGR 550

SB Nation’s Ducks Blog: Anaheim Calling

Three Questions

1. Okay, forget an entire game. Can the Sabres at least play competent hockey for just 30 minutes tonight?

The past two games on this west coast road trip have seen the Sabres dominated by their opponent for about 75% of the game. Much ado was made in the locker room yesterday about not being prepared to play, playing for pride, etc., but many times this bluster has failed to produce results. I’m not actually optimistic they’ll be able to put together a full 60 minute effort, but could we start by maybe taking 15 minutes of watchable hockey and turning into 30?

2. Hey refs, can we get some power plays please?

The stripes have been very relaxed with their whistles the past few nights, and Buffalo’s dominant power play is worse for it. Of course, the Sabres could also force the refs to call penalties by playing faster/better/more aggressively and putting the Ducks into awkward defensive situations, but again, we’re taking baby steps here.

3. How bad will the Ducks defensemen make the Sabres defenders look?

Anaheim has one of the league’s best blue lines, with Hampus Lindholm, Cam Fowler, and Sami Vatanen all playing as good, if not better than anybody the Sabres have on the back end. You might want to keep a pint of Guinness (or four) on hand tonight to ease the pain of watching the Anaheim blue line outclass Buffalo’s.

Projected Buffalo Lines

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
Josh Gorges -- 6 Cody Franson
38 Taylor Fedun -- 47 Zach Bogosian

Goal: 31 Anders Nilsson