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
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.
Jeff Skinner-Tage Thompson-Victor Olofsson
Zemgus Girgensons-Casey Middlestadt-Rasmus Asplund
Brett Murray-Dylan Cozens-Kyle Okposo
Mark Jankowski-Cody Eakin-Vinnie Hinostroza
Mark Pysyk-Rasmus Dahlin
Colin Miller-Robert Haag
Henri Jokiharju-Jacob Bryson
Starting Goalie: Malcolm Subban
Martin Necas-Sebastian Aho-Andrei Svechnikov
Teuvo Teravainen-Jordan Staal-Steven Lorentz
Jesper Fast-Vincent Trocheck-Seth Jarvis
Jordan Martinook-Jesperi Kotkaniemi-Nino Niederreiter
Ian Cole-Jacob Slavin
Brendan Smith-Brady Skjei
Jalen Chatfield-Maxime Lajoie
Starting Goalie: Anttii Raanta