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Preview: Time for a Jolt

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The Sabres welcome the NHL best Tampa Bay Lightning to Buffalo tonight

NHL: Tampa Bay Lightning at Buffalo Sabres Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports

Game #57

Buffalo Sabres (16-30-10) vs. Tampa Bay Lightning (38-15-3)

Season Series: 1-0 Lightning

11/28: Lightning 2 | Sabres 0 (recap)

Puck drop: 7:00 p.m. EST | KeyBank Center | Buffalo, NY


Radio: WGR 550

SB Nation Lightning blog: Raw Charge

What to Watch

1. Pouliot Promotion

Benoit Pouliot has found himself back in the top six for the time being. He’ll skate with Ryan O’Reilly and Sam Reinhart tonight. The last few games Pouliot has been the player we saw for stretches in November and early December. He’s using his speed and being aggressive on the forecheck. He comes into tonight with goals in two straight.

2. Baptiste is back in the lineup.

Nick Baptiste will get back into the lineup tonight after being recalled on Sunday. He’ll replace Jordan Nolan on the fourth line. Baptiste will skate with Zemgus Girgensons and Jacob Josefson.

Know Your Opponent

1. Avoiding Vasilevskiy

The Lightning played last night in Toronto and lost 4-3 to the Leafs. With Vasilevskiy playing last night the Sabres will avoid seeing the Veznia favorite. Last time these two teams met the Russian goaltender held them to a goose egg. Louis Domingue is expected between the pipes tonight.

2. Speed and Skill

The Lightning are at the top of the NHL standings for a reason. They can skate and score in bunches. Nikita Kucherov with 71 points and Steven Stamkos with 65 lead the offensive juggernaut. If the Sabres are not careful the Bolts have the potential to make this game look silly on the scoreboard.

Projected Lineup

67 Benoit Pouliot - 90 Ryan O’Reilly - 23 Sam Reinhart

9 Evander Kane - 71 Evan Rodrigues - 21 Kyle Okposo

20 Scott Wilson -22 Johan Larsson - 29 Jason Pominville

28 Zemgus Girgensons - 10 Jacob Josefson - 13 Nick Baptiste

6 Marco Scandella - 8 Casey Nelson

82 Nathan Beaulieu - 55 Rasmus Ristolainen

93 Victor Antipin - 41 Justin Falk

Starting Goaltender: 31 Chad Johnson