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Preview: Sabres looking for second win in new year

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Florida Panthers visit Buffalo for 90s day.

NHL: Florida Panthers at Buffalo Sabres Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports

Game 43

Buffalo Sabres (18-17-7) vs. Florida Panthers (21-14-5)

Puck Drop: 1:00 PM EST | KeyBank Center | Buffalo, NY

TV: MSG-B

Radio: WGR 550

SB Nation Panthers Blog: Litter Box Cats

Know Your Opponent

Florida Panthers

Record: 21-14-5

Last 10: 6-4-0

Division Ranking: 4th in Atlantic Division

Conference Ranking: 9th in Eastern Conference

PP: 8th (23.7%)

PK: 22nd (78.8%)

What to Watch

1. Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes

Just this past Thursday, the Sabres organization said goodbye to defenseman Marco Scandella and hello to Michael Frolik through the movement of a briefly acquired fourth round draft pick. The new forward is not expected to see some ice time tonight, but general manager Jason Botterill hopes he can help with the penalty kill (which is at 74% and 28th in the league) as well as even strength scoring once he arrives. Frolik is awaiting a work visa and will be in Buffalo sometime next week.

At the same time there was an addition to the offense, there was also a loss with Victor Olofsson’s injury. After an awkward fall in the third period Thursday night, the NHL Rookie of the Month left the ice with difficulty and will be out five to six weeks with a leg injury.

2. 90s day

If you are attending the game today, the first 10,000 fans will receive a pennant to celebrate the 1990s - a glorious decade for the franchise. Alumni appearances will include Jay McKee, Michael Peca, Stu Barnes, and many others. Originally a night game, the new time is 1:00 PM. Go Bills!

3. On the Up-swing? Maybe?

Fans were gifted a real treat from captain Jack during overtime against Edmonton on Thursday. Eichel drew a penalty after some patient play behind his net and scored a beaut on a penalty shot just over a minute into the “fourth” period. Buffalo began 2020 with a bang and broke a four-game losing streak. However, with the several injuries the Sabres have suffered, there will be some line shakeups as well as defensive pairing changes.

The first half of the season has had a lot of fans rolling their eyes and ready to give up on the team after years of disappointment and missed playoff opportunities. Perhaps the momentum will change and Botterill will make some more meaningful moves in the near future to get our boys back in contention.

Projected Lineups

Buffalo Sabres

Forwards

Rasmus Asplund - Jack Eichel - Sam Reinhart

Jimmy Vesey - Marcus Johansson - Conor Sheary

Zemgus Girgensons - Johan Larsson - Kyle Okposo

Scott Wilson - Curtis Lazar - Dalton Smith

Defense

Jake McCabe - Rasmus Ristolainen

Rasmus Dahlin - Brandon Montour

Zach Bogosian - Henri Jokiharju

(Colin Miller)

Starting Goaltender: Linus Ullmark (expected)

Florida Panthers

Forwards

Jonathan Huberdeau - Aleksander Barkov - Evgenii Dadonov

Brett Connolly - Vincent Trocheck - Noel Acciari

Frank Vatrano - Brian Boyle - Mike Hoffman

Colton Sceviour - Dominic Toninato - Mark Pysyk

Defense

Keith Yandle - Aaron Ekblad

Riley Stillman - Anton Stralman

Mike Matheson - Josh Brown

Starting Goaltender: Sergei Bobrovsky (expected)