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Sabres Stop in Seattle to Complete Trip Out West

Buffalo looks to achieve an unbeaten western road trip, their first since 2018

Buffalo Sabres v Seattle Kraken Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images

Game 6

Buffalo Sabres (4-1-0) vs. Seattle Kraken (2-3-2)

Puck Drop: 10:00 PM EST | Climate Pledge Arena | Seattle, WA

TV: MSG

Radio: WGR 550

SB Nation Kraken Blog: Davy Jones Locker Room

Know Your Opponent

Seattle Kraken

Record: (2-3-2)

Last Game: 5-4 loss @ Blackhawks

Division Ranking: T-3rd in Pacific Division

PP: 25% (13th)

PK: 64% (30th)

What to Watch

1. Defense Core Banged Up

While Buffalo has been fortunate to be injury free on offense so far this season, the defense has not been so lucky. Henri Jokiharju took a puck to the face on Thursday night in Calgary, while Mattias Samuelsson went down with a leg injury Saturday night in Vancouver. Both players have been placed on IR. The Sabres do have a bit of depth on defense, with Casey Fitzgerald and Lawrence Pilut having enough experience to fill in, but Buffalo has started to become thin at the position. Kale Clague was also brought up from Rochester as insurance and will most likely be a healthy scratch tonight in Seattle. Luckily for Buffalo, neither Jokiharju or Samuelsson will be out for the long term, which is reassuring. Starting with tonight in Seattle and over the next few weeks, it will be a good test to see how the Sabres young defense core holds up with the new additions to the lineup.

2. Hot Streaks

Rasmus Dahlin has been on absolute fire to start the season. But don’t forget about Alex Tuch either. While Dahls has put up 8 points over the first 5 games (with goals in 5 straight), Tuch is on a 4 game point streak as well, and leads the team with 6 goals. Both players are at the top of the league in statistics, as Tuch is tied for second overall in goals, while Dahlin leads all defensemen in both goals and points. This is exactly the kind of production Sabres fans want to see from their #1 overall pick in 2018 and a player they acquired when trading away a prized player like Jack Eichel. Against Seattle tonight, there’s no reason to believe either player will be slowed on production, as the Kraken have allowed the sixth highest GAA this season at an average of almost 4 per game.

3. What Is Going Well, and What Can Be Improved On

Buffalo has done far more good this season than bad, and will have opportunities to improve their flawed areas against Seattle. The Sabres have exceled this season in the offensive zone at 5v5, creating extensive offensive zone pressure in every game they’ve played, resulting in an average of 4.4 goals per game (good for second in the NHL). As I previously mentioned, Seattle has allowed the sixth most goals per game (27 total), and has the worst faceoff percentage in the league, so Buffalo should be able to create pressure and generate scoring chances no problem. One of the few things the Sabres have done poorly this year has been capitalizing on the power play, so far going 3 for 18 with the man advantage. Given the weapons this team has, especially from a shooting perspective, having the 21st ranked powerplay is not good enough. Luckily for Buffalo, Seattle has the third worst penalty kill, allowing a goal 36% of the time when down a man. If there was ever a night for the Sabres to get some chemistry going and improve their numbers on the powerplay, tonight is absolutely the night to do it.

Projected Lineups

Buffalo Sabres

Forwards

Jeff Skinner - Tage Thompson - Alex Tuch

Rasmus Asplund - Casey Mittelstadt - Victor Olofsson

JJ Peterka - Dylan Cozens - Vinnie Hinostroza

Jack Quinn - Zemgus Girgensons - Kyle Okposo

Defense

Rasmus Dahlin - Ilya Lyubushkin

Owen Power - Jacob Bryson

Lawrence Pilut - Casey Fitzgerald

Goaltenders: Craig Anderson, Eric Comrie (projected starter)

Scratches: Peyton Krebs, Riley Sheahan, Kale Clague

Injuries: Henri Jokiharju, Mattias Samuelsson

Seattle Kraken

Forwards

Andre Burakovsky - Alex Wennberg - Oliver Bjorkstrand

Jaden Schwartz - Matty Beniers - Jordan Eberle

Jared McCann - Yanni Gourde - Karson Kuhlman

Brandon Tanev - Morgan Geekie - Daniel Sprong

Defense

Vince Dunn - Adam Larsson

Jamie Oleksiak - Justin Schultz

Carson Soucy - Will Borgen

Goaltenders: Martin Jones (projected starter), Joey Daccord

Scratches: Ryan Donato, Cale Fleury, Shane Wright

Injuries: Joonas Donskoi, Philipp Grubauer