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Preview: Sabres search for their first win in eight games

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The Sabres need 6 or 7 straight wins to be competitive in their division

Pittsburgh Penguins v Buffalo Sabres Photo by Rob Marczynski/NHLI via Getty Images

Game 25

Buffalo Sabres (6-14-4) vs. Pittsburgh Penguins (15-9-1)

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

TV: MSG

Radio: WGR 550

SB Nation Penguins Blog: Pensburgh

Know Your Opponent

Pittsburgh Penguins

Record: 15-9-1 | 31 PTS

Last 10: 7-3-0

Division Ranking: 3rd in East Division

PP: 24th (16.7%)

PK: 24th (73.7%)

What to Watch

1. Tumbling downhill

The Sabres last win was on Feb. 23 against the Devils 4-1. Buffalo is technically on an 8-game losing streak besides collecting one point against Philadelphia on Tuesday night. The visiting Penguins are riding their 3-game winning streak and the numbers against the Penguins are not “feel good” stats. According to the Sabres PR, The Sabres are 4-5-1 in their last 10 games vs. the Penguins; 2-8-0 at home. The first goal of the game will be the most important since the past five meetings between the Sabres and Penguins have been won by the team who scored first.

2. How is Ralph Krueger still in charge?

The Sabres were just swept in a 3-game series by the Islanders, and are last in the league with 16 points. Including tonight, there are 32 games remaining in the season. The Sabres need 7 straight wins to climb into 4th place in the east, and Buffalo is 20 points away from the first place Islanders. It seemed like Krueger was out the door after the New York trip but that wasn’t the case. Then, after the Philadelphia loss, it was almost certain he was gone. Somehow Kreuger is still the head coach and if the Sabres lose tonight we could expect him to be packing his bags. If the organization doesn’t plan on him coaching next season why is he still here? Maybe the coaching hunt isn’t panning out and other coaches don’t want to touch this horrendous team.

3. Jack Eichel is still out

Jack Eichel is out of the lineup with an upper-body injury and will most likely miss a week of action. He didn’t play Tuesday night against the Flyers when the Sabres secured one point in the 5-4 shootout loss. Linus Ullmark is also still out of the lineup with a lower-body injury.

Projected Lineups

Buffalo Sabres

Forwards

Taylor Hall - Dylan Cozens - Sam Reinhart

Victor Olofsson - Eric Staal - Riley Sheahan

Jeff Skinner - Curtis Lazar - Casey Mittelstadt

Tobias Rieder - Cody Eakin - Kyle Okposo

Defense

Matt Irwin - Rasmus Ristolainen

Jacob Bryson - Brandon Montour

Rasmus Dahlin - Colin Miller

Henri Joikharju is No. 7

Starting Goaltender: Jonas Johansson (expected)

Pittsburgh Penguins

Forwards

Jake Guentzel - Sidney Crosby - Bryan Rust

Evan Rodrigues - Evgeni Malkin - Kasperi Kapanen

Zach Aston-Reese - Teddy Blueger - Brandon Tanev

Colton Sceviour - Mark Jankowski - Anthony Angello

Defense

Brian Dumoulin / Kris Letang

Marcus Pettersson / John Marino?

Mike Matheson / Cody Ceci

Starting goaltender: Tristan Jarry (expected)