clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Sabres Aim to Spear Canucks in Late Night Matchup

Buffalo looks to close out their trip out west on a positive note with a win against Vancouver.

Vancouver Canucks v Buffalo Sabres Photo by Bill Wippert/NHLI via Getty Images

Game 63

Buffalo Sabres (21-33-8) vs. Vancouver Canucks (30-26-7)

Puck Drop: 10:00 PM EST | Rogers Arena | Vancouver, BC

TV: MSG-B

Radio: WGR 550

SB Nation Canucks Blog: Nucks Misconduct

Know Your Opponent

Vancouver Canucks

Record: (30-26-7) | 67 PTS

Division Ranking: 5th in Pacific Division

Last Game: 5-2 loss vs. Flames

PP: 21.3% (13th)

PK: 71.0% (32nd)

What To Watch

1. Marching towards improvement

Over the past three seasons in the month of March (2019-2021), the Sabres posted an abysmal record of 3-28-4.

You read that right. Three total wins.

While it’s harder for that statistic to get much worse, the Sabres have shown positive improvements this March with a 5-3 record up until this point, and have beat tough teams like Minnesota, Vegas, Calgary and Toronto (twice). Buffalo has also done a good job preventing multiple game skids after bad losses, something that was common in the past. Tonight's game against Vancouver should be a good one between an inspired Sabres team and a Canucks squad fighting for a playoff spot.

2. Moving pieces

Both the Sabres and Canucks participated in game day trades that will affect their rosters for tonight’s game, specifically on the defensive end. Buffalo shipped off Robert Hagg to the Florida Panthers for a 2022 sixth round pick, while Vancouver sent Travis Hamonic to the Ottawa Senators for a 2022 third round pick. The Canucks also traded one of their third round picks to Toronto for Travis Dermott. While Dermott is unlikely to play against Buffalo given the lack of time, both Hagg and Hamonic would have potentially started for each team. For Buffalo, Will Butcher returns from injury and will likely take Hagg’s spot in the lineup.

3. Pucks in the net

Buffalo has put up a 1-1 record two games into their three game road trip, and looks to close it out on a positive note. However, despite winning one out of two so far, the Sabres have struggled to score, only putting two pucks in the net. Given the unpredictability of their goaltending at times, Buffalo needs to rely on their offensive fire power to win games most of the time. Dustin Tokarski had one of his best outings in the blue and gold last game against Calgary, and Craig Anderson has been stable in net since coming back from injury, but the Sabres cannot rely on goaltending to get the job done every night. Offensive pressure is definitely something Buffalo should focus on tonight, especially as Vancouver’s starting goalie Thatcher Demko was pulled in their previous game.

Projected Lineups

Buffalo Sabres

Forwards

Jeff Skinner - Tage Thompson - Alex Tuch

Rasmus Asplund - Casey Mittelstadt - Victor Olofsson

Peyton Krebs - Dylan Cozens - Vinnie Hinostroza

Zemgus Girgensons - Cody Eakin - Kyle Okposo

Defense

Rasmus Dahlin - Henri Jokiharju

Mattias Samuelsson - Jacob Bryson

Will Butcher - Colin Miller

Starting Goaltender: Craig Anderson (expected)

Vancouver Canucks

Forwards

Tanner Pearson - J.T. Miller - Brock Boeser

Elias Pettersson - Bo Horvat - Conor Garland

Tyler Motte - Juho Lammikko - Matthew Highmore

Vasily Podkolzin - Nic Petan - Alex Chiasson

Defense

Oliver Ekman-Larsson - Tyler Myers

Quinn Hughes - Luke Schenn

Brad Hunt - Noah Juulsen

Starting Goaltender: Thatcher Demko (expected)