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Go West Young Men

Jan 9, 2024; Buffalo, New York, USA; Buffalo Sabres center Dylan Cozens (24) skates with the puck as Seattle Kraken center Yanni Gourde (37) defends during the second period at KeyBank Center. Mandatory Credit: Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports

Buffalo Sabres (32-31-5) at Seattle Kraken (28-26-12)

Puck Drop: 10:00 PM | Climate Pledge Arena | Seattle, Washington

TV: MSG-B

Radio: WGR 550

Know Your Opponent

Seattle Kraken

Record: 28-26-12 | 68 PTS

Division Ranking: 6thin Pacific

Last Game: 4-1 Loss vs Predators

PP: 17th (21.3%)

PK: 19th (78.8%)

What to Watch

1.  Desperation Season

The Sabres’ playoff hopes were delt a blow with their loss to Detroit on Saturday. Fortunately, the other teams in the Wild Card race have been struggling lately. Buffalo sits just 5 points out of a playoff spot with 14 games left. They’re down but not out. However, they have little room for error. The most disappointing part of the Sabres’ effort on Saturday was the seeming lack of desperation. They cannot afford a repeat of that performance as they begin a tough road trip to the West Coast. They realistically need 6 of 8 possible points to stay in the hunt.

2. Get the First One

Buffalo’s western trip begins with a team they have had no historical success against. Since joining the league 3 years ago, Buffalo has lost all 5 previous matchups while being outscored 26-12. The Sabres will need to change the trend to keep their playoff hopes alive. Seattle has a relatively balanced lineup which makes it tough to find favorable matchups. Buffalo has struggled with consistency this season. They will need contributions throughout their lineup to counteract Seattle’s balanced attack. The law of averages says the Sabres are due for a win against the Kraken and it couldn’t come at a better time.

3. Defensive Assignment

Seattle doesn’t have any notable stars in their lineup. They hoped reigning Caldar Trophy winner Matty Beniers would fill that role, but he hit a sophomore slump this year with only 27 points in 61 games. His linemate Jared McCann is having a good follow up to his breakout 40 goal season last year. McCann leads Seattle in goals and points with 27 and 53 respectively. The Sabres will need to pay special attention to the forward as he can make them pay with one mistake.

Projected Lineups

Buffalo Sabres

Forwards

Girgensons – Thompson – Tuch

Greenway – Cozens – Benson

Skinner – Krebs – Peterka

Robinson – Jost – Olofsson

Defense

Byram – Dahlin

Power – Jokiharju

Bryson – Clifton

Starter: Luukkonen

Seattle Kraken

Forwards

McCann- Beniers – Eberle

Tolvanen – Gourde – Bjorkstrand

Tanev – Yamamoto– Burakovsky

Tatar – Bellemare – Kartye

Defense

Dumoulin – Larsson

Oleksiak – Borgen

Evans – Schultz

Starter: Daccord