Buffalo Sabres (18-31-8) vs. Florida Panthers (37-13-5)
Puck Drop: 7:00 PM | KeyBank Center | Buffalo, NY
TV: MSG-B, BSFL
Radio: WGR 550
SB Nation Florida Panthers Blog: Litter Box Cats
Know Your Opponent
Last Game: 6-2 win over the Red Wings
Division Ranking: 2nd in the Atlantic Division
PP: 14th (21.67%)
PK: 17th (79.53%)
What to Watch
1. Can the Sabres Beat the Best?
The Florida Panthers are one of the top teams in the NHL right now. With 37 wins and only 13 losses this season, Florida sits just below Tampa Bay and is a definite playoff favorite. The Panthers beat Buffalo 7-4 the last time the Sabres faced them on Dec. 2nd. Buffalo has shown some toughness against high ranking opponents at times this year, winning against the Minnesota Wild twice, and crushing the Leafs in Toronto just one week ago. Fans would like to see the Sabres play as well tonight as they did in their two previous games, before the Kings shut them out in yesterday’s Sunday afternoon stinker.
2. Is Tuch Shooting Pucks?
Buffalo Sabres winger Alex Tuch collided into the L.A. Kings’ net late in the 3rd period yesterday. Tuch skated off the ice and didn’t return. There are reports that the Sabres player wasn’t seriously injured, and coach Don Granato thought he might just be sore this morning. Tuch is projected to be in the lineup, according to The Morning Puck. If Tuch does skate in tonight’s game, it’ll be a lucky break for Buffalo. Alex Tuch is one of the Sabres’ best new trade acquisitions and the team could use him if he’s able to play.
3. Bookies Give Florida Slight Odds to Win
The oddsmakers at Winners and Whiners.com give the Florida Panthers a slight 1.5 point spread advantage over the Sabres in their latest matchup. This is surprising, given that Florida has been such a dominant offensive and defensive opponent. If the Sabres manage to pull off an upset and beat the spread, betting on the underdog will pay dividends for anyone who likes Buffalo’s chances.
Jeff Skinner-Tage Thompson-Alex Tuch
Casey Mittelstadt-Dylan Cozens-Kyle Okposo
Rasmus Asplund-Peyton Krebs-Victor Olofsson
Vinnie Hinostroza-Cody Eakin-John Hayden
Rasmus Dahlin-Jacob Bryson
Mattias Samuelsson-Casey Fitzgerald
Robert Hagg-Mark Pysyk
Starting Goalie: Craig Anderson
Carter Verhaege-Alexsander Barkov-Mason Marchment
Jonathan Huberdeau-Sam Bennett-Anthony Duclair
Frank Vatrano-Anton Lundell-Sam Reinhart
Noel Acciari-Eetu Luostarinen-Patric Hornqvist
MacKenzie Weegar-Aaron Ekblad
Gustav Forsling-Radko Gudas
Lucas Carlsson-Brandon Montour
Starting Goalie: Spencer Knight