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Preview: Sabres look to break scoring drought against Hurricanes

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The Sabres have been shut out in three straight games and are in the midst of a six-game losing streak

NHL: Buffalo Sabres at Carolina Hurricanes James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports

Game 71

Buffalo Sabres (30-31-9) vs. Carolina Hurricanes (38-25-7)

Puck Drop: 7:00 PM | PNC Arena | Raleigh, NC

TV: MSG-B, FSCR

Radio: WGR 550

SB Nation Hurricanes Blog: Canes Country

Know Your Opponent

Carolina Hurricanes

Record: (38-25-7)

Last 10: (7-2-1)

Division Ranking: 4th in the Metropolitan Division

Conference Ranking: 7th in the Eastern Conference

PP: 20th (17.3%)

PK: 7th (82.0%)

What to Watch

1. Return of the Jack

As the Sabres look to snap a three-game goal-scoring drought, the return of franchise centerman, Jack Eichel will be extremely helpful. While Eichel was sidelined for two games after being suspended by the league, his importance to the team has been made abundantly clear (as if it weren’t already). At practice this week, Eichel returned to the top line with Jeff Skinner and Sam Reinhart.

2. A tight race in the East

While the Sabres are all but officially eliminated from playoff contention, the Hurricanes are very much in the thick of things as they jockey for position in the Eastern Conference. This week, Eichel referenced playing with pride as the season comes to a close. Pride is something that Buffalo appears to be lacking, especially without their captain. We’ll see if that changes against a very hungry Carolina team.

3. Skinner’s personal goal drought

After a white-hot start to the 2018-19 campaign, Jeff Skinner has cooled-off significantly from a goal-scoring standpoint. It’s been 13-consecutive games now where the soon-to-be UFA has been held without a goal. As his representatives continue to negotiate a new deal with the Sabres brass, he’ll try to put together a strong finish to the season.

Buffalo Sabres

Forwards

Jeff Skinner - Jack Eichel - Jason Pominville

Conor Sheary - Evan Rodrigues - Alex Nylander

Tage Thompson - Casey Mittelstadt - Jason Pominville

Grigensons - Johan Larsson - Kyle Okposo

Defense

Matt Hunwick - Rasmus Ristolainen

Brandon Montour - Zach Bogosian

Rasmus Dahlin - Casey Nelson

Starting Goaltender: Linus Ullmark (unconfirmed)

Carolina Huricanes

Forwards

Justin Williams - Sebastian Aho - Nino Niederreiter

Teuvo Teravainen - Jordan Staal - Andrei Svechnikov

Micheal Ferland - Lucas Wallmark - Jordan Martinook

Brock McGinn - Greg McKegg - Warren Foegele

Defense

Justin Faulk - Brett Pesce

Dougie Hamilton - Jacob Slavin

Trevor van Riemsdyk - Haydn Fleury

Starting Goaltender: Curtis McElhinney (unconfirmed)