Puck drop: 7:00 p.m. EST | KeyBank Center | Buffalo, NY
TV: MSG, FS-A | Radio: WGR 550
SB Nation’s Coyotes Blog: Five for Howling
1. Will the Sabres find another creative way to blow tonight’s game, or will they actually find a way to win against one of the NHL’s worst teams?
The past four games have not been kind to the Buffalo Sabres, from either a record or a watchability standpoint. From blowouts to blown leads, the Sabres have managed to find fun and interesting ways to repeatedly stab their fans in the gut, and it’s taken them from "fringe playoff pushers" to "needs a miracle" in the span of a week.
Tonight, they get a chance to earn some revenge over the Coyotes, who overcame a two-goal Buffalo lead in the third period to defeat the Sabres 3-2 on Sunday. And if the team wasn’t feeling bad enough about themselves, they were called out by their GM for their awful play coming out of the bye week. Will we see frustrations released tonight, or will they continue to build?
2. Are the right Right Wingers on the right lines?
Dan Bylsma shuffled his lines during the morning skate to try and shake the team out of their doldrums, but let’s just say the combinations are...interesting. Putting Tyler Ennis on the top line is a risky move considering that Ennis’ play these days consists mostly of "carry puck into corner, stop/spin, lose puck." And taking the team’s hottest goal-scorer (Kane) away from the team’s best playmaker (Eichel) is a risky move as well. Not the choices I’d make personally (free Justin Bailey, please) but hey, I’m not the coach. We’ll see how it shakes out tonight.
3. How many times will we hear a reference to "tanking" tonight?
I loathe to even bring this topic up, but with all that went on during that Arizona game two years ago, it’s impossible not to. Seeing as how the Sabres postseason hopes all but officially ended last week, this is an especially cruel time for the ‘Yotes to visit the KeyBank Center, so speaking personally, the less we hear about this today, the better.
You know what wouldn’t leave time to talk about this tonight? A fast, fun win by the Sabres. Which of course means we’re probably going to hear about it a lot (sad emoji face).
Projected Buffalo Lines
63 Tyler Ennis -- 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
26 Matt Moulson -- 71 Evan Rodrigues -- 56 Justin Bailey
29 Jake McCabe -- 55 Rasmus Ristolainen
77 Dmitry Kulikov -- 47 Zach Bogosian
4 Josh Gorges -- 6 Cody Franson
Goal: 40 Robin Lehner