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Sabres Look to Cool Off Florida

Buffalo visits the Sunshine State for a battle with the NHL’s top seeded Panthers

Sabres-Panthers Photo by Joe Rimkus Jr./Miami Herald/Tribune News Service via Getty Images

Game 23

Buffalo Sabres (8-11-3) vs Florida Panthers (15-4-3)

Puck Drop: 7:00 PM EST | FLA Live Arena | Sunrise, FL

TV: MSG-B

Radio: WGR 550

SB Nation Panthers’ Blog: litterboxcats.com

Know Your Opponent

Florida Panthers

Record: (15-4-3) | 33 PTS

Division Ranking: 1st, Atlantic Division

PP: 13th (20.0%)

PK: 18th (80.9%)

1. Fat Cats

The Panthers are second overall in the NHL with 33 points in 22 games. One of the many reasons for their early success has been a balanced scoring attack. Florida ranks 4th, in the league, averaging 3.73 goals per game, which is not surprising since they have scoring threats on almost every line. Winger Jonathan Huberdeau is Florida’s leading scorer with 23 points while defender Aaron Ekblad (20 pts.), center Aleksander Barkov (17 pts.) and wingmen Anthony Duclair (17 pts.) and Carter Verhaeghe (16 pts.) round out the top five mountain lion point-getters.

2. House Cats

The cat puns are too easy, however, this game won’t be for Buffalo. The Panthers are 12-1 at home this season, which is tops in the NHL by a wide margin.

3. Rough Roads in Florida

Aside from scoring goals, the Panthers can hit. The big cats play a physical game, and it shows, as they are 6th in the NHL with 576 hits so far. The Sabres will have to figure out a response since they currently hold the 31st spot with only 312 hits.

bruins vs panthers Staff Photo By Stuart Cahill/MediaNews Group/Boston Herald

4. Sabres getting help down the Mittel

Casey Mittelstadt will suit up for the first time since going down in game one this season. The skilled centreman is a sight for sore eyes as Buffalo will look to get him back into game shape and vying for the #1 center role. Recently signed Mark Jankowski will make his Sabres debut. Wingers John Hayden and Anders Bjork were extras in practice signaling that they will likely be wearing shorts and sandals for this one.

Projected Lineups

Buffalo Sabres

Forwards

J. Skinner - T. Thompson - V. Olofsson

B. Murray - D. Cozens - K. Okposo

Z. Girgensons - C. Mittelstadt - R. Asplund

M. Jankowki - C. Eakin - V. Hinostroza

Defense

R. Dahlin - M. Pysyk

J. Bryson - H. Jokiharju

R. Hagg - C. Miller

Starter: D. Tokarski

Seattle Kraken v Buffalo Sabres Photo by Bill Wippert/NHLI via Getty Images

Florida Panthers

Forwards

J. Huberdeau - S. Bennett - C. Verhaeghe

M. Mamin - A. Lundell - S. Reinhart

F. Vatrano - J. Thornton - O. Tippett

R. Lomberg - E. Luostarenin - P. Hornqvist

Defense

M. Weegar - A. Ekblad

M. Kiersted - R. Gudas

L. Carlsson - B. Montour

Starter: S. Bobrovsky

Washington Capitals v Florida Panthers Photo by Eliot J. Schechter/NHLI via Getty Images