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Sabres hope to stop the carnage against Pittsburgh

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Losers of nine straight, Buffalo will try to stop the bleeding again tonight

NHL: Pittsburgh Penguins at Buffalo Sabres Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports

Game 26

Buffalo Sabres (6-15-4) vs. Pittsburgh Penguins (16-9-1)

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: 16-9-1 | 33 PTS

Last 10: 7-3-0

Division Ranking: 3rd in East Division

PP: 23rd (17.6%)

PK: 23rd (74.4%)

What to Watch

1. They Have to Win Eventually, Right?... RIGHT?!?!

In a perverted and ironic bit of hilarity, the Sabres are on the cusp of their second 10-game streak in three years. Unlike the winning stretch they experienced in 2018-19, this time Buffalo will try to avoid dropping ten-straight.

In any other conceivable scenario, a second-year coach would have been fired after such a long stretch of futility. Not in Buffalo though. Here we’ve just accepted the fact they the team’s league-leading nine-year playoff drought will continue into 2021.

2. Missing Power-Play - Last Seen February 25th

It’s been eight games since the Sabres’ once league-leading man-advantage unit has converted a goal. Currently, they have failed to convert on their last 13 power-play opportunities.

Amazingly, they still rank fifth in the NHL in terms of conversion rate, thanks to their hot start. Still, for a team that claims to generate five-on-five production as a result of their power-play success (a quote from Ralph Krueger that still makes zero sense), they need to find a way to regain their proficiency.

3. Thin Center Spine

With Jack Eichel and Dylan Cozens sidelined for the foreseeable future, the Sabres are very thin down the middle. Tonight, it is anticipated that Riley Sheahan will handle top-line center responsibilities between Taylor Hall and Sam Reinhart.

Eric Staal, Curtis Lazar, and Cody Eakin will center line two-through-four. Buckle up. This one could get ugly fast.

Projected Lineups

Buffalo Sabres

Forwards

Taylor Hall - Riley Sheahan - Sam Reinhart

Victor Olofsson - Eric Staal - Tobias Rieder

Jeff Skinner - Curtis Lazar - Casey Mittelstadt

Tage Thompson - Cody Eakin - Kyle Okposo

Defense

Matt Irwin - Rasmus Ristolainen

Jacob Bryson - Brandon Montour

Rasmus Dahlin - Colin Miller

Starting Goaltender: Carter Hutton

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: Casey DeSmith