Preview: Sabres travel to Chicago to take on Blackhawks
Buffalo will look to secure victory in consecutive nights against the streaking Blackhawks
Buffalo Sabres (10-6-3) vs. Chicago Blackhawks (8-7-4)
Puck Drop: 7:00 PM EST | United Center | Chicago, IL
Radio: WGR 550
SB Nation Blackhawks Blog: Second City Hockey
Know Your Opponent
Record: (8-7-4) | 20 points
Last 10: 6-2-2
Division Ranking: 6th in Central Division
Conference Ranking: 14th in Western Conference
PP: 27th (14.0%)
PK: 19th (78.7%)
What to Watch
1. Blackhawks Turning a Corner?
After a very rough start to the 2019-20 season, the Chicago Blackhawks have collected 14 points in their last 10 games, and currently ride a three-game winning streak. After previously dropping six-straight contests, the Sabres finally got back into the win column last night with a 4-2 home victory over the Ottawa Senators.
Traveling to face a Western Conference foe after playing in Western New York just last night won’t be easy, but the Sabres need to find a way to solve the streaking Hawks. Buffalo has a very tough stretch of their schedule coming up so they need to collect points against mediocre opponents.
2. Get the Power-Play Back on Track
The Sabres’ power-play unit is currently zero for their last 14 attempts with the man-advantage. Their last tally came against the Arizona Coyotes on October 28. Since then, the team has gone six-straight games without a power-play goal.
Thanks to their outstanding efficiency early in the season, Buffalo’s PP unit still ranks 10th in the NHL at 22.9-percent. If they want to keep pace in a competitive Atlantic Division, they simply must regain their previous proclivity in that area.
3. Bottom-Six Injuries Piling Up
After placing Johan Larsson on injured reserve earlier this week, the Sabres were forced to do the same with Kyle Okposo after the veteran winger took a hit to the head last night against the Senators. With two-thirds of the highly-effective “LOG Line” now sidelined, the team’s organizational depth at forward will be tested.
As a result of both players being placed on IR, the team has called-up Tage Thompson, who is off to a fantastic start with the Rochester Amerks. The 22-year-old is currently tied for the team lead with 12 points in 16 games this season.
Buffalo Sabres (No Morning Skate)
Victor Olofsson - Jack Eichel - Sam Reinhart
Jeff Skinner - Evan Rodrigues - Conor Sheary
Jimmy Vesey - Casey Mittelstadt - Curtis Lazar
Zemgus Girgensons - Rasmus Asplund - Tage Thompson
Rasmus Dahlin - Brandon Montour
Jake McCabe - Rasmus Ristolainen
Marco Scandella - Henri Jokiharju
Starting Goaltender: Carter Hutton
Brandon Saad - Jonathan Toews - Alex Nylander
Alex DeBrincat - Dylan Strome - Patrick Kane
Andrew Shaw - David Kampf - Dominik Kubalik
Ryan Carpenter - Kirby Dach - Zach Smith
Duncan Keith - Erik Gustafsson
Calvin de Haan - Brent Seabrook
Olli Maatta - Connor Murphy
Starting Goaltender: Corey Crawford