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Preview: On the Road Again

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Sabres open Western Canada road trip in Calgary

NHL: Calgary Flames at Buffalo Sabres Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports

Game #47

Buffalo Sabres (11-26-9) vs. Calgary Flames (25-16-5)

Puck drop: 9:00 p.m. EST | Scotiabank Saddledome | Calgary, AB

TV: MSG

Radio: WGR 550

SB Nation Flames blog: Matchsticks and Gasoline

What to Watch

1. A Change... Could Do You Good

With Disney On Ice taking over KeyBank Center later this week, the Sabres are heading on their Western Canada swing, starting with tonight’s game in Calgary. They’ll then visit Edmonton and Vancouver before returning home next week.

Buffalo has struggled both on the road and at home this season. Yes, all around, it’s a struggle. Away from KeyBank Center, the Sabres are a dismal 5-14-6. Can this set of three on the road help shake things up a little and give this team a “new life?”

2. It’s Been A While

Where were you on October 18, 2003?

Seems like a long time ago, doesn’t it? Well, that’s the last time the Sabres won a game in Calgary -- over 14 years ago. Yikes.

Last season, the Sabres split the season series with the Flames. Calgary won the first meeting 4-3 in overtime, but Buffalo beat the Flames 4-2 at home in November 2016.

Can the Sabres finally - finally! - get a win at the Saddledome again?

3. The ones to watch

Ryan O’Reilly, Kyle Okposo and Evander Kane are three players to watch tonight for Buffalo, as all three have found recent success against the Flames.

O’Reilly has 14 points (5-9) in his last 11 games against Calgary; he’s on a six-game point streak (nine points) against the Flames as well. Okposo has 10 points (2-8) in as many career games against the Flames. Finally, Kane has eight points (3-5) in as many career games versus Calgary.

Know Your Opponent

1. The Flames are... well, hot.

Although Calgary dropped their last game 2-1 in a shootout to Winnipeg, they’ve found success lately. Entering tonight’s game against Buffalo, the Flames have earned at least a point in eight straight games, and nine of their last ten.

Prior to Saturday’s loss, they’d won seven games in a row. They’ve also allowed two or fewer goals in six straight games, and have held the opposing team to ONE goal (non-shootout) in three of their last four games.

Not the best thing for the struggling Buffalo eam to head up against.

2. G-Unit

Two Flames players to watch tonight: Johnny Gaudreau and Mark Giordano.

Gaudreau is leading Calgary with 54 points, including 15 goals and 39 assists, in just 46 games this season. That includes 17 points on the power play.

Meanwhile, Giordano has six points (2-4) in the last eight games. He also skated 26:35 on Saturday against Winnipeg and will likely see similar ice time tonight against Buffalo.

Projected Lineup

28 Zemgus Girgensons - 15 Jack Eichel - 21 Kyle Okposo

20 Scott Wilson - 90 Ryan O’Reilly - 23 Sam Reinhart

9 Evander Kane - 22 Johan Larsson - 29 Jason Pominville

17 Jordan Nolan - 71 Evan Rodrigues - 13 Nick Baptiste

6 Marco Scandella - 55 Rasmus Ristolainen

82 Nathan Beaulieu - 19 Jake McCabe

41 Justin Falk - 8 Casey Nelson

93 Victor Antipin

Starting Goaltender: 31 Chad Johnson