Puck Drop: 7:30 PM EST | KeyBank Center | Buffalo, NY
Radio: WGR 550
SB Nation Pens Blog: Pensburgh
Know Your Opponent
Last Game: 6-5 OT loss vs Bruins
Division Ranking: 7th in Metropolitan Division
PP: 22.9% (14th)
PK: 71% (28th)
What to Watch For
1. Offensive Explosion
It had been coming for some time for Tage Thompson. Last season’s Sabres leading goalscorer was doing all the right things, putting in all the hard work but things weren’t just clicking for him. On Monday night though, the sight of the Red Wings’ road whites did the trick for the lanky forward just two days after having scored a game-tying third period brace against the Blackhawks - 12, 14 and 14 shot attempts in the last three games tell their own story.
What’s incredible though is that it’s not just Thompson that’s scoring - Rasmus Dahlin has regained his scoring touch again, matching Tage’s 12 points. Alex Tuch quietly has nine points, Jeff Skinner just behind him on eight and the Sabres are second in the league in goals scored per game.
2. Slumping Pens
The Penguins tend to be perennial contenders, but are struggling miserable right now. They went on the same road trip out West that Buffalo just came back from, and picked up four straight losses, begin beaten handily 6-3, 4-1, 5-1 and 3-1, before coming home and letting a three-goal lead slip to the Boston Bruins last night in a 6-5 overtime loss.
Pittsburgh’s (not very) special teams has been a big part of their issues in this five-game lsoing streak, with the power play unit going only 3/20, while the penalty kill has given up five goals in 15 shorthanded attempts. The Sabres should be the less tired team tonight and if recent results are anything to go by, they should come out comfortable winners too.
Jeff Skinner - Tage Thompson - Kyle Okposo
Jack Quinn - Casey Mittelstadt - Victor Olofsson
JJ Peterka - Dylan Cozens - Alex Tuch
Zemgus Girgensons - Peyton Krebs - Rasmus Asplund
Jacob Bryson - Rasmus Dahlin
Owen Power - Kale Clague
Lawrence Pilut - Casey Fitzgerald
Goaltenders: Craig Anderson, Eric Comrie (projected starter)
Scratches: Vinnie Hinostroza
Injuries: Riley Sheahan, Henri Jokiharju, Mattias Samuelsson, Ilya Lyubushkin
Jake Guentzel - Sidney Crosby - Bryan Rust
Jason Zucker - Evgeni Malkin - Richard Rakell
Danton Heinen - Drew O’Connor - Kasperi Kapanen
Brock McGinn - Ryan Poehling - Josh Archibald
Brian Dumoulin - Jeff Petry
Marcus Pettersson - Jan Rutta
Pierre-Oliver Joseph - Chad Ruhwedel
Goaltenders: Casey DeSmith (projected starter)