Sabres hope to stop the carnage against Pittsburgh
Losers of nine straight, Buffalo will try to stop the bleeding again tonight
Buffalo Sabres (6-15-4) vs. Pittsburgh Penguins (16-9-1)
Puck Drop: 7:00 PM | KeyBank Center | Buffalo, NY
Radio: WGR 550
SB Nation Penguins Blog: Pensburgh
Know Your Opponent
Record: 16-9-1 | 33 PTS
Last 10: 7-3-0
Division Ranking: 3rd in East Division
PP: 23rd (17.6%)
PK: 23rd (74.4%)
What to Watch
1. They Have to Win Eventually, Right?... RIGHT?!?!
In a perverted and ironic bit of hilarity, the Sabres are on the cusp of their second 10-game streak in three years. Unlike the winning stretch they experienced in 2018-19, this time Buffalo will try to avoid dropping ten-straight.
In any other conceivable scenario, a second-year coach would have been fired after such a long stretch of futility. Not in Buffalo though. Here we’ve just accepted the fact they the team’s league-leading nine-year playoff drought will continue into 2021.
2. Missing Power-Play - Last Seen February 25th
It’s been eight games since the Sabres’ once league-leading man-advantage unit has converted a goal. Currently, they have failed to convert on their last 13 power-play opportunities.
Amazingly, they still rank fifth in the NHL in terms of conversion rate, thanks to their hot start. Still, for a team that claims to generate five-on-five production as a result of their power-play success (a quote from Ralph Krueger that still makes zero sense), they need to find a way to regain their proficiency.
3. Thin Center Spine
With Jack Eichel and Dylan Cozens sidelined for the foreseeable future, the Sabres are very thin down the middle. Tonight, it is anticipated that Riley Sheahan will handle top-line center responsibilities between Taylor Hall and Sam Reinhart.
Eric Staal, Curtis Lazar, and Cody Eakin will center line two-through-four. Buckle up. This one could get ugly fast.
Taylor Hall - Riley Sheahan - Sam Reinhart
Victor Olofsson - Eric Staal - Tobias Rieder
Jeff Skinner - Curtis Lazar - Casey Mittelstadt
Tage Thompson - Cody Eakin - Kyle Okposo
Matt Irwin - Rasmus Ristolainen
Jacob Bryson - Brandon Montour
Rasmus Dahlin - Colin Miller
Starting Goaltender: Carter Hutton
Jake Guentzel - Sidney Crosby - Bryan Rust
Evan Rodrigues - Evgeni Malkin - Kasperi Kapanen
Zach Aston-Reese - Teddy Blueger - Brandon Tanev
Colton Sceviour - Mark Jankowski - Anthony Angello
Brian Dumoulin - Kris Letang
Marcus Pettersson - John Marino
Mike Matheson - Cody Ceci
Starting goaltender: Casey DeSmith