Preview: Sabres seek road victory against surging Panthers
At 1-7-2 in their last 10 games, the Sabres will have their work cut out for them against the high-octane Panthers
Buffalo Sabres (10-9-3) vs. Florida Panthers (12-6-5)
Puck Drop: 5:00 PM EST | BB&T Center | Sunrise, FL
Radio: WGR 550
SB Nation Panthers Blog: Litter Box Cats
Know Your Opponent
Record: (12-6-5) | 29 PTS
Last 10: 6-3-1
Division Ranking: 2nd in Atlantic Division
Conference Ranking: 5th in Eastern Conference
PP: 5th (25.0%)
PK: 17th (81.0%)
What to Watch
1. Past Us By
We are watching two teams that are trending in the opposite direction. Buffalo has four points out of a possible 20 in their last 10 games. Florida has taken 13. It is incredible that the Cats maintain a slight three-game lead on the Sabres, with a game in hand.
Taking two against the Panthers in regulation today would be huge for the Sabres, who are scrapping for points in the standings wherever they can. If you can say games in the first quarter of the season are important, this is one.
2. Uneven Strength
Special teams could be a determining factor in this evening’s matchup. The Panthers are excellent on the power play, and better than average on the kill. Buffalo, on the other hand, is 26th on the penalty kill, giving Florida quite an advantage when it comes to this game.
The Panthers went 0-for-2 on the advantage last night in Carolina, and will be looking to bounce back from the 4-2 loss they suffered at the hands of the Canes. Taking advantage of Buffalo’s flailing penalty kill could be just what they are looking for.
3. Bogo Boost
Buffalo gains the services of Zach Bogosian for the first time this season. When healthy, the aging defender has been one of the most consistent players for the Sabres. Last season, he was a calming influence for a young Rasmus Dahlin, who has been struggling this year to regain his previous form. Hopefully Bogo can give both the team and his teenaged partner the boost on the backend that they need so, so badly.
Jimmy Vesey - Jack Eichel - Sam Reinhart
Jeff Skinner - Evan Rodrigues - Conor Sheary
Zemgus Girgensons - Johan Larsson - Curtis Lazar
Casey Mittelstadt - Rasmus Asplund - Victor Olofsson
Jake McCabe - Rasmus Ristolainen
Rasmus Dahlin - Zach Bogosian
Colin Miller - Brandon Montour
Marco Scandella - Henri Jokiharju
Starting Goaltender: Carter Hutton
Brett Connolly - Vincent Trocheck - Frank Vatrano
Evgenii Dadonov - Jonathan Huberdeau - Aleksander Barkov
Noel Acciari - Colton Sceviour - Brian Boyle
Mike Hoffman - Dominic Toninato - Denis Malgin
Keith Yandle - Aaron Ekblad
Mike Matheson - Anton Stralman
Mark Pysyk - Josh Brown
Starting Goaltender: Sergei Bobrovsky