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Preview: Sabres host Bruins in third of five-game homestand

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Buffalo looks for two more points at home after Sunday’s big victory

NHL: Buffalo Sabres at Boston Bruins Brian Fluharty-USA TODAY Sports

Game 46

Buffalo Sabres (12-26-7) vs. Boston Bruins (25-12-6)

Puck Drop: 6:30 PM EST | KeyBank Center | Buffalo, NY

TV: MSG

Radio: WGR 550

SB Nation Bruins Blog: Stanley Cup of Chowder

Know Your Opponent

Boston Bruins

Record: (25-12-6)

Division Ranking: 4th in East Division

PP: 22% (10th)

PK: 85.7% (1st)

What to Watch

1. Mitts and Sam, Comin’ in Hot

It is no secret that the Sabres are maybe actually...good? If not good, they are at least drastically better (and more fun to watch) since Don Granato took over as interim head coach. One of the many players that have improved is Sam Reinhart, whose experience on the team may finally be an advantage rather than a soul-crushing disadvantage. Sunday marked his fourth multi-goal game this season and he is likely to surpass 20 goals total for the fourth season in a row. Granato’s plan is to keep him at center - a decision that should have been made a long time ago (thanks for nothing, Ralph).

Casey Mittelstadt is another hot player to watch these days with an impressive turnaround this season. He has 10 points in his last 11 games and has been a difference-maker on faceoffs, winning 15 out of 21 on Sunday. Granato has said, of Mittelstadt, that he plans to gradually put him in more “challenging” situations on the ice, noting that he has put in the time and effort to handle this.

2. Tokarski, The Star?

After an impressive showing against the Penguins this past weekend, goaltender Dustin Tokarski has been named “First Star of the Week” by the NHL. He has a 2-1-1 record over the past week with 128 saves on 137 shots and a 2.27 average GA. Tokarski shares the NHL honor with frontline worker and former Roswell patient Michaela Pastorius. Assuming he gets the nod to play tonight, Tokarski should be another fun one to watch.

Granato did say Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen will back up Tokarski tonight and may start in one of the Boston matchups this week. Stay tuned!

3. Drake In, Cody Out

Buffalo’s first transaction during trade deadline season was acquiring Drake Caggiula from the Arizona Coyotes. While he has struggled out west this season, Granato integrated him into the morning practice and plans to make him part of the lineup tonight. With Caggiula on the Rieder/Sheahan line, Cody Eakin will be scratched.

Projected Lineups

Buffalo Sabres

Forwards

Jeff Skinner - Sam Reinhart - Victor Olofsson

Rasmus Asplund - Casey Mittelstadt - Tage Thompson

Anders Bjork - Dylan Cozens - Arttu Ruotsalainen

Tobias Rieder - Riley Sheahan - Drake Caggiula

Defense

Mattias Samuelsson - Rasmus Ristolainen

Jacob Bryson - Colin Miller

Rasmus Dahlin - Henri Jokiharju

Starting Goaltender: Dustin Tokarski

Boston Bruins

Forwards

Brad Marchand - Patrice Bergeron - David Pastrnak

Taylor Hall - David Krejci - Craig Smith

Nick Ritchie - Charlie Coyle - Jake DeBrusk

Sean Kuraly - Curtis Lazar - Chris Wagner

Defense*

Matt Grzelcyk** - Charlie McAvoy

Mike Reilly - Connor Clifton

Jeremy Lauzon - Steven Kampfer

*Jarred Tinordi left the ice after a bloody hit against the Capitals on Sunday afternoon and is a question mark for tonight.

**Matt Grzelcyk was practicing today and may return to the blue line for Boston after missing several games with an upper-body injury.

Starting Goaltender: Tuukka Rask