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Preview: Sabres host the Penguins in a must win game

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Sabres can’t afford to lose this one tonight to the Penguins

NHL: Buffalo Sabres at Pittsburgh Penguins Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Game 64

Buffalo Sabres (29-26-8) vs Pittsburgh Penguins (33-22-8)

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

TV: MSG

Radio: WGR 550

SB Nation Penguins Blog: Pensburgh

Know Your Opponent

Pittsburgh Penguins

Record: (33-22-8) | 74 PTS

Last 10: 5-3-2

Division Ranking: 5th in Metropolitan Division

Conference Ranking: 9th in Eastern Conference

PP: 6th (24.3%)

PK: 17th (80.1%)

What to Watch

1. Last Chance

The Sabres are pretty much done in the Eastern Conference playoff race, but if they want to keep their faint hopes alive they need a win over the Penguins tonight. A loss puts them 10 points back of the Pens and at least nine points out of the playoffs.

2. One Line

Phil Housley has decided to turn his hockey club into a one line team again tonight against the Penguins by putting Jeff Skinner, Jack Eichel, and Sam Reinhart on the same line. It’s a bold strategy, seeing the last five games those three have played on one line the Sabres lost all five games in convincing fashion.

3. Not the same ole Penguins

The Penguins have not been that powerhouse team were used to seeing over the last few years. They enter play tonight outside the playoff picture and have issues all over their roster, particularly defensively.

However, unlike last time these two teams met, the Penguins will have Sabres-killer Sidney Crosby in the lineup.

Buffalo Sabres

Forwards

Jeff Skinner - Jack Eichel - Sam Reinhart

Conor Sheary - Evan Rodrigues - Kyle Okposo

Scott Wilson - Casey Mittelstadt - Tage Thompson

Zemgus Girgensons - Johan Larsson - Jason Pominville

Defense

Jake McCabe - Rasmus Ristolainen

Rasmus Dahlin - Zach Bogosian

Matt Hunwick/Marco Scandella - Brandon Montour

Starting Goaltender: Linus Ullmark (unconfirmed)

Pittsburgh Penguins

Forwards

Jake Guentzel - Sidney Crosby - Patric Hornqvist

Zach Aston-Reese - Evgeni Malkin - Phil Kessel

Jared McCann - Nick Bjugstad - Dominik Simon

Garrett Wilson - Matt Cullen - Teddy Blueger

Defense

Jack Johnson - Justin Schultz

Marcus Pettersson - Erik Gudbranson

Juuso Riikola - Zach Trotman

Starting Goaltender: Matt Murray