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Preview: Hurricanes host Sabres in first of three meetings this season

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Skinner returns to Raleigh and Jack is back

Jeff Skinner
Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports

Game 44

Buffalo Sabres (23-14-6) vs. Carolina Hurricanes (20-18-5)

Puck Drop: 7:30 PM | PNC Arena | Raleigh, NC

TV: MSG-B

Radio: WGR 550

SB Nation Hurricanes blog: Canes Country

Know Your Opponent

Carolina Hurricanes

Record: (20-18-5) | 45 points

Last 10: 5-5-0

Division Ranking: 5th in the Metropolitan Division

Conference Ranking: 10th in the Eastern Conference

PP: 25th (16.4%)

PK: 17th (80.1%)

What to Watch

1. Skinner returns to Raleigh

Skinner will return to PNC Arena in his first game as a Sabre against the team that drafted him. The last time these two teams met was December 23, 2017 when Jeff Skinner donned a red Canes jersey and his former team came out with a 4-2 win at home. Interestingly enough, the Sabres did not win one game against the Hurricanes during the 2017-2018 season and they will look to end that drought tonight.

2. Jack is back: Eichel is expected back on the ice tonight

Since New Year’s Eve, Jack Eichel has been out of the lineup with an upper-body injury and is expected to return tonight. The Sabres’ secondary scoring has really needed to step up their game and they did just that this past Tuesday against the New Jersey Devils with five goals from five different players. There were much needed contributions from both offense and defense and the Sabres will look to make it two wins in a row.

3. Thompson steps up to the challenge on 1st line

Head coach Phil Housley has shuffled the lines a bit more and in doing so, has placed Tage Thompson with Skinner alongside Eichel. Thompson has two points in the last five games and 18 shots.

Buffalo Sabres

Forwards

Jeff Skinner - Jack Eichel - Tage Thompson

Conor Sheary - Vladimir Sobotka - Sam Reinhart

Zemgus Girgensons - Casey Mittelstadt - Jason Pominville

Evan Rodrigues - Johan Larsson - Kyle Okposo

Defense

Lawrence Pilut - Rasmus Ristolainen

Rasmus Dahlin - Zach Bogosian

Marco Scandella - Jake McCabe

Nathan Beaulieu - Matt Hunwick

Starting Goaltender: Carter Hutton (unconfirmed)

Carolina Hurricanes

Forwards

Brock McGinn - Sebastian Aho - Teuvo Teravainen

Micheal Ferland - Lucas Wallmark - Jordan Martinook

Andrei Svechnikov - Greg McKegg - Justin Williams

Warren Foegele - Victor Rask - Saku Maenalanen

Denfense

Jaccob Slavin - Brett Pesce

Calvin de Haan - Justin Faulk

Trevor van Riemsdyk - Dougie Hamilton

Starting Goaltender: Curtis McElhinney (unconfirmed)