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Sabres Host the Lightning in Monday Night Matchup

Buffalo hopes to limit losing streak to one game

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Buffalo Sabres v Tampa Bay Lightning Photo by Mark LoMoglio/NHLI via Getty Images

Game 22

Buffalo Sabres (9-12-0) vs. Tampa Bay Lightning (12-7-1)

Puck Drop: 7:00 PM EST, KeyBank Center

TV: MSG

Radio: WGR 550

SB Nation Lightning Blog: Raw Charge

Know Your Opponent

Tampa Bay Lightning

Record: (12-7-1)

Last Game: 5-2 win over the St. Louis Blues

Division Ranking: 4th in the Atlantic Division

PP: 25.64% (7th)

PK: 77.63% (18th)

What to Watch

1. Buffalo Can Beat the Bolts, It’s Long Overdue

The Tampa Bay Lightning usually dominate their recent meetings with the Sabres, as they did just a few weeks ago. However, it hasn’t always been that way, believe it or not.

In Buffalo’s all-time record of playing Tampa since 1992, the Sabres beat the Lightning 56 times, lost 50 and tied 5. The Blue and Gold last won against Bolts on Oct. 25, 2021, with a 5-1 home ice victory. Tampa Bay isn’t sitting at the top of the standings at the moment and a disciplined Buffalo team could knock them down a peg, if one chooses to show up.

2. Penalty Killing a Lightning Weak Spot

The Lightning rank an NHL 7th in power play scoring (25.64%). By contrast, Tampa is much worse at penalty kills, a league 18th in stopping opponents with the man advantage. While the Bolts’ almost 78% record in killing penalties is good, it’s still well under other teams much lower in overall NHL standings including the Montreal Canadiens and Arizona Coyotes.

If the Sabres manage to get a power play, they could have an easier time scoring on a Tampa team that’s far from the NHL’s best against the man advantage. Should Buffalo get an extra attacker, its offense needs to show patience and puck control, something the team’s lines don’t always consistently master.

3. Bookies Back the Bolts

The Sabres are +134 moneyline underdogs, according to Randy Chambers of Sportschatplace.com. Chambers believes the Lightning are starting to look like the same winning team they were in past seasons, making the most of shots offensively and being sharp on defense.

Buffalo has trouble keeping the puck out of its net, something home ice hasn’t really helped. Chambers feels that isn’t likely to change, and he also gives the Lightning a -1.5 point spread. If you think the betting consensus is wrong, wager on the Sabres for a substantial potential payout.

Projected Lineups

Buffalo Sabres

Forwards

Jeff Skinner – Tage Thompson – Alex Tuch

JJ Peterka – Dylan Cozens – Jack Quinn

Victor Olofsson – Casey Mittelstadt – Vinnie Hinostroza

Zemgus Girgensons – Tyson Jost - Kyle Okposo

Defense

Mattias Samuelsson – Rasmus Dahlin

Owen Power – Henri Jokiharju

Casey Fitzgerald – Ilya Lyubushkin

Goaltenders: Craig Anderson (projected), Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen

Injuries: Jacob Bryson, Eric Comrie

Tampa Bay Lightning

Forwards

Brandon Hegel – Brayden Point – Nikita Kucherov

Alex Killorn – Nicholas Paul – Steven Stamkos

Corey Perry – Vladislav Namestnikov – Alex Barré-Boulet

Pat Maroon – Ross Colton – Rudolfs Balcers

Defense

Erik Cernak – Victor Hedman

Cal Foote - Mikhail Sergachev

Zach Bogosian - Ian Cole

Goaltenders: Brian Elliott (likely), Andrei Vasilevskiy

Injuries: Anthony Cirelli, Cole Koepke