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Sabres Kick off Week with Monday Matinee

The Florida Panthers are in town for a 1 p.m. puck drop on MLK Day.

NHL: Buffalo Sabres at Nashville Predators Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

Game 42

Buffalo Sabres (21-18-2) vs. Florida Panthers (20-20-4)

Puck Drop: 1:00 PM EST | KeyBank Center | Buffalo, NY

TV: MSG, ESPN+

Radio: WGR 550

SB Nation Panthers Blog: Litter Box Cats

Know Your Opponent

Florida Panthers

Record: 20-20-4

Last Game: 4-3 win over Canucks

Division Ranking: 5th in Atlantic Division

PP: 15th (22.4%)

PK: 23rd (75.2%)

What to Watch For

1. Old Friends

Sabres fans will, of course, be watching Sam Reinhart closely on Monday, but let’s not forget defenseman Brandon Montour, either. Montour has appeared in 42 games with the Panthers this season and has accrued 35 points - mostly assists. He has seven goals, with three game-winning tallies.

Reinhart, meanwhile, has 29 points (13-16) in 44 games. Eric Staal, who played only briefly for the Sabres, has skated in 37 games for the Panthers and put up 14 points, all of which have come at even-strength.

Zac Dalpe also played for the Panthers this season, appearing in 11 games. He recently cleared waivers and was assigned to the AHL’s Charlotte Checkers on Sunday.

2. Daily Roster Management Continues

On Sunday, the Sabres recalled Peyton Krebs from Rochester and loaned Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen to the Amerks in another paper move. Krebs joined the team for practice Sunday. With no morning skate on Monday, I’d expect Eric Comrie to get the start in goal, backed by Craig Anderson. That would position the Sabres to then recall UPL before traveling to Chicago on Tuesday if they so choose. (He would have to be recalled in order to travel with the team.)

With Krebs seemingly coming back into the lineup, it’s unclear how exactly the forwards will shit for Monday’s game.

3. A Busy Day in the NHL

The Sabres/Panthers game is one of 11 on the slate for the NHL on Monday. Buffalo enters the day four points out of a wild card playoff spot. Teams to watch who are also playing Monday include the Pittsburgh Penguins (3rd in Wild Card), who play the Anaheim Ducks; the New York Islanders (2nd in Wild Card), who are facing the Washington Capitals (1st in Wild Card).

Plenty of hockey left this season.

Projected Lineups

Buffalo Sabres

Forwards

Jeff Skinner - Tage Thompson - Alex Tuch

JJ Peterka - Dylan Cozens - Jack Quinn

Casey Mittelstadt - Tyson Jost - Victor Olofsson

Vinnie Hinostroza - Rasmus Asplund - Kyle Okposo

Peyton Krebs, Zemgus Girgensons

Defense

Mattias Samuelsson - Rasmus Dahlin

Owen Power - Henri Jokiharju

Jacob Bryson - Ilya Lyubushkin

Kale Clague

Goaltenders: Craig Anderson, Eric Comrie (projected starter)

Florida Panthers

Forwards

Anton Lundell - Aleksander Barkov - Sam Reinhart

Carter Verhaeghe - Sam Bennett - Matthew Tkachuk

Eetu Luostarinen - Eric Staal - Nick Cousins

Ryan Lomberg - Colin White - Givani Smith

Defense

Gustav Forsling - Aaron Ekblad

Marc Staal - Brandon Montour

Josh Mahura - Radko Gudas

Goaltenders: Sergei Bobrovsky, Alex Lyon

Injuries: Anthony Duclair, Patric Hornqvist, Spencer Knight