Buffalo Sabres (3-4) at Los Angeles Kings (2-4)
Puck Drop: 3:30 PM | Staples Center | Los Angeles
SB Nation Los Angeles Kings Blog: Jewels from the Crown
Know your Opponent
Record: 2-4 | 4 PTS
Last 10: 2-4
Division Ranking: 7th in the Pacific Division
Conference Ranking: 13th in the Western Conference
PP: 27th (8.0%)
PK: 26th (70.0%)
What to Watch
1.) Isn’t that special?
When the Sabres capitalize on the power play, the team is 3-0. When they fail to score with the advantage, they are 0-4. The same is true of the team when they dominate the penalty kill; the team is 3-0 when they keep the opponent off of the board when down a player, and 0-4 when they allow a goal on the PK.
It’s difficult to say why the team is snakebitten on the power play - they haven’t scored in two games (0-for-11). It’s almost heresy to implicate captain Jack Eichel as a weakness in any aspect of Buffalo’s game, but the chart below makes it pretty clear that the penalty kill is a weakness for the young star.
Yeah... how about we don't put Eichel out there for the Penalty Kill. It doesn't appear to be a strength of his. pic.twitter.com/QuHlitGYWZ— Buffalo Sabres Stats (@SabresStats) October 19, 2018
2.) Coming in hot
In Buffalo’s four losses, the team has mustered three goals. Not three goals a game, but three goals in four losses - less than one goal per game. In the seven matchups that Buffalo has played this season, no team has scored a tying goal; the team that has scored first has run away with the game.
Fans saw this in the preseason. Buffalo was either very hot or very cold and it varied game to game. It would be ideal if the team could put together a solid effort (maybe demonstrate they can come from behind?!) but playing the probabilities might be best for the inconsistent team. Score first. Run away with the game. Get this pendulum swinging back in the right direction.
3.) My name is Linus
Carter Hutton struggled in his last game. For the first time this season, he seemed to be fighting the puck a bit, and scrambly instead of confident.
No one thinks Hutton should slot into a backup role but Linus Ullmark appears to be progressing well in his first full NHL season. While coach Phil Housley spent the afternoon shaking up the lines, perhaps he should look to the young netminder to give the team a spark in a Saturday matinee.
Buffalo Sabres projected lines
Jeff Skinner - Jack Eichel - Jason Pominville
Conor Sheary-Vladmir Sobotka-Sam Reinhart
Evan Rodrigues - Casey Mittelstadt - Kyle Okposo
Johan Larsson - Patrik Berglund - Zemgus Girgensons
Jake McCabe - Rasmus Ristolainen
Marco Scandella - Casey Nelson
Zach Bogosian - Rasmus Dahlin
Starting Goaltender: Carter Hutton (unconfirmed)
LA Kings Projected Lines
Alex Iafallo - Anze Kopitar - Ilya Kovalchuk
Tanner Pearson - Jeff Carter- Tyler Toffoli
Austin Wagner - Adrian Kempe - Trevor Lewis
Kyle Clifford - Michael Amadio - Nate Thompson
Derek Forbort - Drew Doughty
Jake Muzzin - Alec Martinez
Dion Phaneuf - Oscar Fantenberg
Starting Goaltender: Jonathan Quick