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The Sabres Are Back in Action

Buffalo finally returns to the ice to host the Devils.

Buffalo Sabres v Winnipeg Jets Photo by Jonathan Kozub/NHLI via Getty Images

Game 31

Buffalo Sabres (10-15-5) vs. New Jersey Devils (10-15-5)

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

TV: MSG

Radio: WGR 550

SB Nation Devils blog: All About the Jersey

Know Your Opponent

New Jersey Devils

Record: 10-15-5 | 25 PTS

Last Game: 3-2 loss against Pittsburgh on Dec. 19

Division Ranking: 7th in Metropolitan Division

PP: 30th (12.9%)

PK: 15th (80.4%)

What to Watch

1. Finally, We’re Back!

After a longer-than-expected break, the Sabres are finally back in action tonight. Head coach Don Granato remains in COVID protocol & won’t be behind the bench, so Matt Ellis will take his place for this evening’s game.

The NHLers already in protocol - Jeff Skinner, Dylan Cozens, Vinnie Hinostroza, Zemgus Girgensons & Mark Jankowski - are unavailable. Jacob Bryson has also been added to the protocol list. Colin Miller is also out tonight with an injury.

With all that said, the Sabres have called up several players from the AHL’s Rochester Americans. Peyton Krebs will make his Buffalo debut; JJ Peterka will make his NHL debut, and Arttu Ruotsalainen is also in the lineup. Ethan Prow joins the team’s taxi squad.

Oh, and finally... finally! We’ll get to see Alex Tuch make his Buffalo debut tonight as well.

2. Looking Back

If you’re like me, it’s been so long since the Sabres played - and so much has happened since - that I’ve literally forgotten the last game. For the record, it was an overtime loss to the Penguins on December 17. Malcolm Subban made 45 saves, including that incredible glove save that somehow kept the puck from crossing the line, but Jeff Carter eventually nabbed the game winner.

3. Back-to-Back

If all goes according to plan, tonight’s game will be the first of a back-to-back set for the Sabres, as well as the first of three games in four days. After tonight’s matchup, the Sabres are scheduled to face the Islanders on the road Thursday; however, New York’s scheduled game against the Detroit Red Wings tonight has already been postponed. Buffalo’s then back in action Saturday afternoon in Boston.

Projected Lineups

Buffalo Sabres

Forwards

JJ Peterka - Tage Thompson - Alex Tuch

Rasmus Asplund - Arttu Ruotsalainen - Victor Olofsson

Brett Murray - Peyton Krebs - Kyle Okposo

Anders Bjork - Cody Eakin - John Hayden

Defense

Rasmus Dahlin - Henri Jokiharju

Mark Pysyk - Casey Fitzgerald

Will Butcher - Ethan Prow

Starting Goalie: Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen

New Jersey Devils

Forwards

Pavel Zacha - Nico Hischier - Yegor Sharangovich

Andreas Johnsson - Mercer - Jesper Bratt

Janne Kuokkanen - Jack Hughes - Marian Studenic

Jimmy Vesey - Michael McLeod - Nathan Bastian

Defense

Ryan Graves - Dougie Hamilton

Jonas Siegenthaler - Damon Severson

Ty Smith - P.K. Subban

Starting Goalie: Akira Schmid