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Preview: Sabres look to defend perfect home record against Arizona

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Buffalo injuries shake up roster, but Montour may return.

NHL: Buffalo Sabres at Arizona Coyotes Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

Game 13

Buffalo Sabres (9-2-1) vs. Arizona Coyotes (6-3-1)

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

TV: NHL, MSG-B

Radio: WGR 550

SB Nation Coyotes Blog: Five for Howling

Know Your Opponent

Arizona Coyotes

Record: 6-3-1 | 13 PTS

Last 10: 6-3-1

Division Ranking: 5th in Pacific Division

Conference Ranking: 8th in Western Conference

PP: 15th (21.2%)

PK: T18th (80%)

What to Watch

1. Home Ice Advantage

The Sabres are looking to protect their perfect 5-0-0 home record with another win against Arizona. The last time these two teams met was December 13th and Buffalo came out on top with a 3-1 victory. Historically - especially in the last decade - Buffalo has struggled to win at home. So, fans have been pleasantly surprised (and perhaps still a little cautious?) with this impressive start. It will be interesting to see how long head coach Ralph Krueger and his boys can make it last.

2. Even Steven

Aside from coming off of a big win, these two teams are pretty evenly matched based on their average age and size, goals allowed, away record, and penalty kill percentage so far this season. Each team also has a few hot players to keep a close eye on. For the Sabres, it is Casey Mittelstadt, who, in the last five games has tallied two goals and is a +5 on the season as well as Jeff Skinner, who despite what many people think, is doing just fine on the second line. Skinner has six goals and two assists in 12 games and has shown no signs of slowing down. Let’s not forget about captain Jack, who has six points in those last five. Another quick fact worth noting? They are all on different lines and have been scoring at both even strength and on the power play. We can now show an appreciation for secondary scoring. Thank you, Krueger!

Arizona’s top hot player at the moment is Oliver Ekman-Larsson, a veteran defenseman who has also earned six points so far. He is a +5 on the season and will likely get plenty of ice time against the Sabres.

3. The Return of Montour?

Brandon Montour, who gained early fan approval when he was picked up by the Sabres late last season, was on the ice for Sunday’s practice. Though he is still listed as day-to-day from a hand injury and has yet to be removed from Injury Reserve, there’s a small chance we may see his 2019-2020 season debut against the ‘Yotes.

Game Projection

Buffalo Sabres (projected)

Forwards

Victor Olofsson - Jack Eichel - Sam Reinhart

Jeff Skinner - Marcus Johansson - Vladimir Sobotka

Evan Rodrigues - Casey Mittelstadt - Conor Sheary

Zemgus Girgensons - Johan Larsson - Kyle Okposo

Defense

Jake McCabe - Rasmus Ristolainen

Rasmus Dahlin - Henri Jokiharju

John Gilmour - Colin Miller

Will Borgen - Brandon Montour

Arizona Coyotes (projected)

Forwards

Clayton Keller - Christian Dvorak - Phil Kessel

Michael Grabner - Derek Stepan - Vinnie Hinostroza

Barrett Hayton - Nick Schmaltz - Conor Garland

Lawson Crouse - Carl Soderberg - Christian Fischer

Defense

Oliver Ekman-Larsson - Jason Demers

Jakob Chychrun - Alex Goligoski

Kyle Capobianco - Ilya Lyubushkin

Starting Goaltender: Darcy Kuemper