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Sabres Take on Panthers in Home Matinee

Buffalo looks to stifle one of the East’s best before heading out west.

Florida Panthers v Buffalo Sabres Photo by Bill Wippert/NHLI via Getty Images

Game 2

Buffalo Sabres (1-0-0) vs. Florida Panthers (1-0-0)

Puck Drop: 1:00 PM EST | KeyBank Center | Buffalo, NY

TV: MSG

Radio: WGR 550

SB Nation Senators Blog: Litter Box Cats

Know Your Opponent

Florida Panthers

Record: (1-0-0)

Last Game: 3-1 win @ Islanders

Division Ranking: T-1st in Atlantic Division

PP: 0.0%

PK: 66.7%

What to Watch

1. Former Friends, Now Foes

Both Sam Reinhart and Brandon Montour will make their return to KeyBank Center to face off against their former team on Saturday. While neither player has recorded a point yet this season (in one game played), both Reinhart and Montour made an impact for the Panthers last season against the Sabres in four games, with Reinhart recording 7 points (2 goals and 5 assists), and Montour recording 4 points (1 goal and 3 assists). Despite moving on to a different team, Montour made a few positive remarks about the Sabres prior to the game, stating that “...it’s always good to see some familiar faces. They’re moving in the right direction, which is good to see. I cherished my time here [in Buffalo].”

2. Maintaining Momentum

Despite a slow first period, Buffalo played much better in the second and third against the Sens on Thursday night. While chemistry between each line on offense and defense may take some time to adjust to their full potential, it seemed like the lines Granato put together worked well, especially the Cozens, Krebs, Peterka line. If players on the top lines such as Thompson, Skinner and Tuch can gain more confidence and get on the score sheet against Florida, it would be beneficial to the Sabres as they head out west on their road trip following their game on Saturday. For the first time in a while, however, it feels that the Sabres have more than one line that they can rely on to provide scoring.

3. Goaltending

Craig Anderson performed very well against Ottawa in the home opener, stopping 35 of 36 shots faced. Although he still looks to be the solid goaltender he has been throughout his career, the Sabres will most likely split time with him and Comrie in the net. In 19 games last season with Winnipeg, Comrie posted a 10-5-1 record with a 0.920 save percentage and a 2.58 GAA, the best of his career. While Anderson’s success with the Sabres seems to be continuing on to this season, look for Comrie to get the start against Florida and to split time with Anderson over the course of the year. If Buffalo can get reliable goaltending from both Anderson and Comrie throughout the season, they will be in good shape to make a run at the playoffs.

Projected Lineups

Buffalo Sabres

Forwards

Jeff Skinner - Tage Thompson - Victor Olofsson

Jack Quinn - Casey Mittelstadt - Alex Tuch

Peyton Krebs - Dylan Cozens - JJ Peterka

Zemgus Girgensons - Rasmus Asplund - Kyle Okposo

Defense

Mattias Samuelsson - Rasmus Dahlin

Owen Power - Henri Jokiharju

Jacob Bryson - Iyla Lyubushkin

Goaltenders: Craig Anderson, Eric Comrie

(Remember: Don Granato has said he won’t be announcing his starting goalies ahead of games this season. As Anderson started game 1, I would assume Comrie gets the start Saturday.)

Florida Panthers

Forwards

Carter Verhaeghe - Alex Barkov - Sam Reinhart

Matthew Tkachuk - Sam Bennett - Rudolfs Balcers

Eetu Luostarinen - Anton Lundell - Colin White

Ryan Lomberg - Nick Cousins - Patric Hornqvist

Defense

Gustav Forsling - Aaron Ekblad

Marc Staal - Brandon Montour

Josh Mahura - Radko Gudas

Goaltenders: Sergei Bobrovsky, Spencer Knight