Buffalo Sabres (20-33-11) vs. Florida Panthers (30-25-6)
Season Series: 2-0 Panthers
11/10: Panthers 4 | Sabres 1 (Recap)
2/1: Panthers 4 | Sabres 2 (Recap)
Puck drop: 7:30 p.m. EST | BB&T Center | Sunrise, FL
Radio: WGR 550
SB Nation Panthers blog: Litter Box Cats
What to Watch
1. Kyle Okposo Back
After missing Wednesday’s game due to the birth of his daughter. Okposo has joined the team and will play tonight. He’ll take his usual second line wing spot in the lineup.
2. Back to Lehner
After a strong showing against the Tampa Bay Lightning, you may have thought Chad Johnson would get another start against the Panthers. Not the case. Robin Lehner will be back in goal tonight for the Sabres. Lehner has only won twice in his last 10 starts.
3. Nick Baptiste a Top Six Opportunity
Evan Rodrigues did not take part in the morning skate. He’s day-to-day with an upper body injury. Therefore Zemgus Girgensons shifted to second line center. That made space for Baptiste to move up on that line with Girgensons and Okposo.
Know Your Opponent
The Panthers are making a late season push for the playoffs. Don’t look now, but they’re three points out of the final wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference with three games in hand on the Columbus Blue Jackets. They’ve also won four straight games coming into tonight.
2. Bobby Lou
Roberto Luongo’s return has been huge for the Panthers. He’s won the last four games and has a .916 save percentage over that stretch. That being said with Luongo playing last night against the New Jersey Devils. James Reimer is expected to be in goal tonight. Reimer hasn’t played since February 18 against the Winnipeg Jets and he gave up seven goals in that game. His last win came on Valentine’s Day.
67 Benoit Pouliot - 90 Ryan O’Reilly - 23 Sam Reinhart
13 Nick Baptiste - 28 Zemgus Girgensons - 21 Kyle Okposo
20 Scott Wilson - 22 Johan Larsson - 29 Jason Pominville
17 Jordan Nolan - 10 Jacob Josefson - 25 Seth Griffith
6 Marco Scandella - 55 Rasmus Ristolainen
93 Victor Antipin - 8 Casey Nelson
82 Nathan Beaulieu - 41 Justin Falk
Starting Goaltender: 40 Robin Lehner