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Preview: Sabres host top team Lightning

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Buffalo looking to rebound against NHL’s best

Buffalo Sabres v Tampa Bay Lightning Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

Game 45

Buffalo Sabres (23-15-6) vs. Tampa Bay Lightning (34-8-2)

Puck Drop: 7:00 PM | KeyBank Center | Buffalo, NY

TV: MSG-B

Radio: WGR 550

SB Nation Lightning blog: Raw Charge

Know Your Opponent

Tampa Bay Lightning

Record: (34-8-2) | 70 points

Last 10: 9-1-0

Division Ranking: 1st in the Atlantic Division

Conference Ranking: 1st in the Eastern Conference

PP: 1st (30.0%)

PK: 8th (83.1%)

What to Watch

1. Looking for a win

It won’t be easy, but the Sabres have done pretty well against the Lightning thus far this season. Buffalo beat Tampa 2-1 during their 10-game winning streak earlier this season. The Sabres then lost to the Lightning 5-4 in the game that ended the streak. Despite the fact that Tampa is such a good team, both of those games being one-goal decisions points to good things.

2. Hello, and goodbye

Tonight’s game at KeyBank Center is the last Sabres home game of the month. They’ll head out on the Western Canada road trip next week, then break for the NHL All-Star Game. The Sabres finish the month with trips to Columbus and Dallas.

The good news: they then play seven straight home games beginning on February 1.

3. Ullmark time

With Carter Hutton playing last night in the loss to Carolina, it’s likely that Linus Ullmark will be tending net for the Sabres this evening. Ullmark is 9-2-0-3 this season with a 2.69 GAA and .924 save percentage. If he plays tonight, this would be his first game against Tampa since April 9, 2017.

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: Linus Ullmark (unconfirmed)

Tampa Bay Lightning

Forwards

Ondrej Palat - Steven Stamkos - Alex Killorn

Tyler Johnson - Brayden Point - Nikita Kucherov

Adam Erne - Anthony Cirelli - Yanni Gourde

Danick Martel - Cedric Paquette - Mathieu Joseph

Defense

Victor Hedman - Dan Girardi

Ryan McDonagh - Erik Cernak

Braydon Coburn - Anton Stralman

Starting Goaltender: Andrei Vasilevskiy (unconfirmed)