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Preview: Sabres host the struggling Devils

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Sabres and Devils meet for the first time this season tonight

NHL: New Jersey Devils at Buffalo Sabres Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports

Game 43

Buffalo Sabres (22-14-6) vs New Jersey Devils (16-18-7)

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

TV: MSG-B

Radio: WGR 550

SB Nation Devils blog: All About The Jersey

Know Your Opponent

New Jersey Devils

Record: (16-18-7) | 39 points

Last 10: 5-5-0

Division Ranking: 7th in the Metro Division

Conference Ranking: 13th in the Eastern Conference

PP: 18th (18.9%)

PK: 2nd (85.2%)

What to Watch

1. Key Injuries

The Sabres may be without two of their best players tonight in Jack Eichel and Sam Reinhart. Well, the Devils are in a similar situation as well. They’ll be without their best player Taylor Hall tonight and Marcus Johansson. Injury excuse won’t really fly for the Sabres tonight.

2. Take advantage of the scheduling

The schedule wasn’t friendly to the Sabres back in December, but it works in their favor tonight. The Devils will be playing their third game in five nights and just finished up a west coast trip with a loss in Vegas on Sunday.

3. Who’s going to step up?

Based off the lines in practice, Vladimir Sobotka and Tage Thompson will move up to the top line with Jeff Skinner. Conor Sheary and Jason Pominville will get an opportunity to play with Evan Rodrigues. Casey Mittelstadt and C.J. Smith will be together on the third line.

Without Eichel and Reinhart there will be some interesting line trios. We’ll see who steps up to produce the scoring with two of the big three out of the lineup.

Buffalo Sabres

Forward

Jeff Skinner - Vladimir Sobotka - Tage Thompson

Conor Sheary - Evan Rodrigues - Jason Pominville

C.J. Smith - Casey Mittelstadt - Zemgus Girgensons

Remi Elie - Johan Larsson - Kyle Okposo

Defense

Lawrence Pilut - Rasmus Ristolainen

Marco Scandella - Jake McCabe

Rasmus Dahlin - Zach Bogosian

Starting Goaltender: Carter Hutton (unconfirmed)

New Jersey Devils

Forwards

Jesper Bratt - Nico Hischier - Kyle Palmieri

Miles Wood - Travis Zajac - Blake Coleman

Blake Pietila - Pavel Zacha - Stefan Noesen

Brian Boyle - Brett Seney - Drew Stafford

Defense

Andy Greene - Damon Severson

Sami Vatanen - Steven Santini

Will Butcher - Ben Lovejoy

Starting Goaltender: Keith Kinkaid