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Sabres at Lightning preview: The Merciful End

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We’ve reached the final game of the season. Thank goodness.

NHL: Buffalo Sabres at Tampa Bay Lightning Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Game #82

Buffalo Sabres (33-36-12) at Tampa Bay Lightning (41-30-10)

Puck Drop: 5:00 p.m. EST | Amalie Arena | Tampa, FL

TV: MSG, SUN | Radio: WGR 550

SB Nation’s Lightning Blog: Raw Charge

Two Questions

1. Will the Sabres give us anything to cheer for today, or a repeat performance of yesterday?

In the first of their final two road games in Florida, the Sabres were blanked 3-0 by the also-out-of-it Panthers. Tonight, they face a Lightning team that just missed the playoffs in the finale, with Tampa Bay’s Fan Appreciation Night taking place in Amalie Arena.

It would leave an even worse taste in Sabres fans mouths for the team to lay two consecutive eggs in their weekend finale, so let’s hope the fellas have one more strong effort left in them before the hot mess that will be this offseason.

2. Where will the Sabres finish the season in the draft standings?

Buffalo is currently 25th in the NHL, and with no movement that would give them the 7th pick in the draft thanks to the addition of the Golden Knights. They can finish the year at best in 26th place and the 6th pick in the draft with a regulation loss today and a Detroit win over New Jersey (go Red Wings!) or they can finish as high as 23rd and the 9th pick with a win and a Panthers loss to the Capitals (go Panthers!).

It’s sad that all we have to look forward to tonight is draft positioning, but as Buffalo fans, it’s something we should be used to.

Projected Buffalo Lines

Evander Kane -- 90 Ryan O'Reilly -- 12 Brian Gionta
26 Matt Moulson -- 15 Jack Eichel -- 23 Sam Reinhart
70 Alexander Nylander -- 71 Evan Rodrigues -- 63 Tyler Ennis
28 Zemgus Girgensons -- 42 Sean Malone -- 44 Nicolas Deslauriers

Josh Gorges 55 Rasmus Ristolainen
29 Jake McCabe — 77 Dmitry Kulikov
41 Justin Falk -- 47 Zach Bogosian

Goal: 35 Linus Ullmark