Puck Drop: 7:00 PM EST | KeyBank Center | Buffalo, NY
Radio: WGR 550
SB Nation Flames Blog: Matchsticks And Gasoline
Know Your Opponent
Record: 8-3-5 | 21 PTS
Division Ranking: 3rd in the Pacific Division
PP: 10th (22.5%)
PK: 5th (86.8%)
What to Watch
1. The First of Two
Tonight is the first of two matchups for the Flames and Sabres this season. It is the first time these two teams have faced off since the 2019-2020 season. The Sabres are a much different team since then. The game plan is to no longer look for a specific player, it’s developed into utilizing four full lines that contribute on both sides of the puck. Through 15 games, 19 different players have points and 15 different players have scored at least one goal. Rasmus Asplund leads the team with ten points, followed by five guys tied with nine.
2. The Birthday Boy
Jacob Bryson has registered 5 points through 15 games with 4 of them coming from the power play. At 5’ 9”, 175 pounds he isn’t a coast-to-coast defenseman. He has solid fundamentals and makes smart plays when breaking out of the zone.
One of my favorite things in hockey..the great skating Dman (Jacob Bryson of @BuffaloSabres here) who jukes/escapes the forechecking like a running back and makes the short, quick pass that leads to a clean breakout. Bryson reminds me of Matt Grzelcyk on plays like this.. pic.twitter.com/M71NAls9as— Bucci Mane (@Buccigross) November 9, 2021
This is a crucial hockey play that isn’t flashy but is critical for a successful breakout. As soon as Bryson knows he isn’t going to be hit, his head is already up scanning the ice. A defenseman that can break out of his zone efficiently and effectively is a key component to winning games.
3. Limiting Shots!!!
Dustin Tokarski has been stellar so far this season giving the Sabres a chance to win every night. Coming off of a career-high 45 saves against Pittsburgh, the team has to lighten his load. It’s not confirmed who will man the net tonight but regardless of who is in-between the pipes, they cannot allow another onslaught of shots. It also depends on where the shots are coming from. Let the Flames pour on attempts from the blueline, as long as there are no screens or possible tips it’s an easy stoppage of play. The Sabres are 9th in the league in shots against per game (32.9). If Aaron Dell starts tonight, there can be no shots against. Dell is 0-1 with a 5.02 GAA, and a .808 SV%. It’s tough to stay mad at a guy that has the coolest setup on the team.
Jeff Skinner - Tage Thompson - Rasmus Asplund
Drake Caggiula - Dylan Cozens - Vinnie Hinostroza
Zemgus Girgensons - Cody Eakin - Kyle Okposo
Anders Bjork - Arttu Ruotsalainen - John Hayden
Rasmus Dahlin - Mark Pysyk
Jacob Bryson - Colin Miller
Robert Hagg - Will Butcher
Starting Goaltender: Dustin Tokarski (expected)
Johnny Gaudreau - Elias Lindholm - Matthew Tkachuk
Blake Coleman - Sean Monahan - Andrew Mangiapane
Dillian Dube - Mikael Backland - Trevor Lewis
Milan Lucic - Brad Richardson - Walker Duehr
Noah Hanifin - Rasmus Anderson
Oliver Kylington - Chris Tanev
Nikita Zadorov - Erik Gudbranson
Starting Goaltender: Jacob Markstrom (expected)