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Preview: Sabres host Sharks in back end of home-and-home series

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The Sabres return home from their west coast road trip to take on a familiar foe

NHL: OCT 19 Sabres at Sharks Photo by Matt Cohen/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Game 10

Bufalo Sabres (7-1-1) vs. San Jose Sharks (3-5-0)

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

TV: MSG-B

Radio: WGR 550

SB Nation Sharks Blog: Fear the Fin

Know Your Opponent

San Jose Sharks

Record: 3-5-0 | 6 PTS

Last 10: 3-5-0

Division Ranking: 7th in Pacific Division

Conference Ranking: 11th in the Western Conference

PP: 12th (23.3%)

PK: 2nd (92.8%)

What to Watch

1. Get the Power-Play Rolling Again

During their three-game west coast road trip, the Sabres went 2-for-14 on the power-play, despite operating at a 42.8-percent rate prior. Obviously, nobody expected them to sustain such a gaudy rate of success, but they need to try and get back on track on home ice.

The Sharks and the Anaheim Ducks did a great job of thwarting the Sabres’ man-advantage unit by playing an aggressive style on the penalty kill, along with a concerted effort to close off cross-ice passing lanes, which helped extinguish Buffalo’s biggest weapons in Jack Eichel and Victor Olofsson. Ralph Kruger and the rest of the coaching staff may need to adapt their approach to regain their power-play potency.

2. Home Ice Dominance Over Sharks

Dating back to 2007, the Sabres have beaten the Sharks in six of their last eight head-to-head matchups in Buffalo. Since their inaugural season in 1992, San Jose has only won in the Queen City on three occasions, holding an overall record of 3-17.

Their past history obviously has no bearing on tonight’s contest, but it is pretty incredible to see one team have that type of dominance over another on home ice. Hopefully that trend continues.

3. The Road Ahead

There are six games remaining on the schedule before the blue-and-gold head to Sweden for their two-game series against the Tampa Bay Lightning. Following tonight’s game, they play the New York Rangers, Detroit Red Wings, and Arizona Coyotes to close out the month of October.

All of those are extremely winnable games, and if they can continue to build on an already hot start, the European series would carry an added level of intrigue.

Game Prediction

Forwards

Victor Olofsson - Jack Eichel - Sam Reinhart

Jeff Skinner - Marcus Johansson - Vladimir Sobotka

Jimmy Vesey - Casey Mittelstadt - Conor Sheary

Zemgus Girgensons - Johan Larsson - Kyle Okposo

Defense

Jake McCabe - Rasmus Ristolainen

Rasmus Dahlin - Colin Miller

Marco Scandella - Henri Jokiharju

Starting Goaltender: Carter Hutton

Game Prediction

San Jose Sharks (projected)

Forwards

Timo Meier - Logan Couture - Patrick Marleau

Evander Kane - Tomas Hertl - Kevin Labanc

Marcus Sorensen - Joe Thornton - Barclay Goodrow

Melker Karlsson - Dylan Gambrell - Lukas Radil

Defense

Marc-Edouard Vlasic - Brent Burns

Brenden Dillon - Erik Karlsson

Mario Ferraro - Tim Heed

Starting Goaltender: Martin Jones