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Sabres Continue Road Trip Against the Hurricanes

Buffalo Hopes to Recover After 7-4 Panthers Pounce

NHL: Carolina Hurricanes at Buffalo Sabres Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports

Game 24

Buffalo Sabres (8-12-3) vs. Carolina Hurricanes (15-6-1)

Puck Drop: 7:30 PM EST | PNC Arena | Raleigh, NC

TV: MSG-B, BSSO

Radio: WGR 550

SB Nation Canes Blog: Canes Country

Know Your Opponent

Carolina Hurricanes

Record: (15–6-1)

Last Game: 3-2 loss vs. Ottawa

Division Ranking: 3rd in the Metropolitan Division

PP: 15th (18.9%)

PK: 3rd (88.1%)

What to Watch

1. Can the Sabres Stop Losing Games?

The Buffalo Sabres are on a three-game losing streak. The team has an average 2.86 goals per game, according to the most recent statistics. However, terrible goaltending has continued to plague the team. Craig Anderson seems to be on permanent injured reserve (he is now month-to-month), while Dustin Tokarski went on COVID-19 protocols.

The Sabres also shored up their goalie weakness by acquiring Malcolm Subban from the Chicago Blackhawks as part of a trade. Subban has a 36-31-8 record in 82 NHL games with a 3.02 GAA and an .899 save percentage. By contrast, Aaron Dell, who’s had to do a lot of netminding recently, has a 4.70 GAA and a .868 save percentage. Subban is likely to be starting goaltender tonight, so hopefully he can do well in his first NHL game as a Sabre.

2. Can the Sabres’ Offense Keep Scoring?

The Buffalo Sabres’ offensive lines are doing much better than they have in previous seasons. Tage Thompson, Kyle Okposo, Dylan Cozens, Jeff Skinner, Vinnie Hinostroza and recent returnee Casey Mittelstadt are all putting in more effort and getting goals when they’re on the ice. The Sabres need to keep up that offensive pressure, something fans have seen more of but still need to see consistently in every period of every game.

If the defense and goaltenders can keep from letting in five or more goals per game, Buffalo might rise above 6th place in the Atlantic Division. The offensive lines are doing their part to score, but they can’t do it all.

3. The Hurricanes Aren’t Invincible.

Carolina is coming off a 3-2 loss to the Ottawa Senators, a team that’s currently the conference worst. The Hurricanes have lost five of their last six games, and are now, like the Sabres, on a three-game losing streak. If Buffalo’s offense is able to step up the way they have recently, the Sabres might make it four for the Canes and a much needed two points in their own win column.

The oddsmakers at PuckLine give the Sabres a slight chance to prevail, with a +1.5 point edge and a 52% win probability.

Projected Lineups

Buffalo Sabres

Forwards

Jeff Skinner-Tage Thompson-Victor Olofsson

Zemgus Girgensons-Casey Middlestadt-Rasmus Asplund

Brett Murray-Dylan Cozens-Kyle Okposo

Mark Jankowski-Cody Eakin-Vinnie Hinostroza

Defense

Mark Pysyk-Rasmus Dahlin

Colin Miller-Robert Haag

Henri Jokiharju-Jacob Bryson

Starting Goalie: Malcolm Subban

Carolina Hurricanes

Forwards

Martin Necas-Sebastian Aho-Andrei Svechnikov

Teuvo Teravainen-Jordan Staal-Steven Lorentz

Jesper Fast-Vincent Trocheck-Seth Jarvis

Jordan Martinook-Jesperi Kotkaniemi-Nino Niederreiter

Defense

Ian Cole-Jacob Slavin

Brendan Smith-Brady Skjei

Jalen Chatfield-Maxime Lajoie

Starting Goalie: Anttii Raanta