Puck Drop: 1:00 PM EST | Ericsson Globe | Stockholm, Sweden
TV: NBCS, SN1
Radio: WGR 550
SB Nation Lightning Blog: Raw Charge
Know Your Opponent
Tampa Bay Lightning
Record: (7-5-2) | 14 PTS
Last 10: 5-4-1
Division Ranking: 6th in Atlantic Division
Conference Ranking: 11th in Eastern Conference
PP: 6th (23.1%)
PK: 27th (74.0%)
What to Watch
1. They don’t ask how
Simply put, the Buffalo Sabres need to score more goals. The team has a total of three goals in November, and while they’ve only played three games, a 1.0 goals per game average should be somewhere close to what a few of the players are scoring, rather than the team as a whole. The last time the Sabres scored more than two goals was October 22. They’ve allowed 18 goals in that time. You can’t win games without putting the puck in the net. Period.
2. Killing in the name of...
The power play has been great for Buffalo - even with their scoring woes overall, the team is converting on a pace of 25.9 percent, tied for third in the league. The penalty kill? Not so much. The Sabres are in the bottom-third, killing only 80 percent of its disadvantages. That seems like a solid number, but given that the team is struggling to score, they are in dire need of an improved kill. Yesterday afternoon’s PP tally for Tampa was the difference between one point and no points in the standings.
3. Help from my friends
It’s easy to look at a 3.00 goals against average over the last six games and throw some shade at the goaltending, but there is little question that Linus Ullmark and Carter Hutton have answered the call when they have needed to, making some spectacular saves in that time. Ullmark took the loss yesterday, but easily could have been the top star, given how well he played to try to keep his team in the game.
The Sabres’ defense, and overall defensive zone coverage, needs to tighten up. Good teams will capitalize on their opponents mistakes. Great teams will hang four goals in a period on a team, and that can’t be blamed entirely on the goalie. Buffalo has to approach their zone in a more comprehensive way, making smart plays in transition, and providing support for puck carriers to mitigate panic and turnovers.
Victor Olofsson - Jack Eichel - Sam Reinhart
Jeff Skinner - Marcus Johansson - Evan Rodrigues
Conor Sheary - Casey Mittelstadt - Jimmy Vesey
Zemgus Girgensons - Johan Larsson - Kyle Okposo
Rasmus Dahlin - Brandon Montour
Jake McCabe - Rasmus Ristolainen
Henri Jokiharju - Colin Miller
Lawrence Pilut - John Gilmour
Starting Goaltender: Carter Hutton
Tampa Bay Lightning
Alexander Volkov - Steven Stamkos - Nikita Kucherov
Ondrej Palat - Brayden Point - Tyler Johnson
Alex Killorn - Anthony Cirelli - Mathieu Joseph
Yanni Gourde - Cedric Paquette - Luke Witkowski
Ryan McDonagh - Erik Cernak
Mikhail Sergachev - Kevin Shattenkirk
Jan Rutta - Luke Schenn
Starting Goaltender: Curtis McElhiney