Preview: Sabres road trip continues this afternoon against Canucks
Buffalo will try to get back on the winning track in a matinee game against Vancouver
Buffalo Sabres (13-11-5) vs. Vancouver Canucks (14-11-4)
Puck Drop: 4:00 PM EST | Rogers Arena | Vancouver, British Columbia
Radio: WGR 550
SB Nation Canucks Blog: Nucks Misconduct
Know Your Opponent
Record: (14-11-4) | 32 PTS
Last 10: 4-5-1
Division Ranking: 5th in Pacific Division
Conference Ranking: 9th in Western Conference
PP: 4th (26.8%)
PK: 16th (81.6%)
What to Watch
1. Battle of the Expansion Brothers
For the first time in their respective 50th seasons, the Canucks and Sabres will face-off in a battle of the 1970 expansion class. To this point in the 2019-20 season, the two franchises have fared similarly. Both find themselves on the fringe of the playoff race and both have struggled with overall consistency.
While the Sabres currently hold the longest playoff drought in the NHL at eight years, the Canucks have struggled to get into the postseason as well, with their last appearance in 2014-15.
2. Back to the 12-6 Approach?
According to Sabres’ head coach Ralph Krueger, the team is strongly considering going back to dressing the traditional 12 forwards and six defensemen, as opposed to the 11-7 approach that the team had been employing for the past few games.
When Rasmus Dahlin returns from his concussion, the Sabres will have eight healthy defensemen on the active roster. How they continue to manage the logjam (especially if they intend to switch to, and stick with the 12-6 approach) will certainly be interesting to monitor.
All seven of the team’s active blueliners skated at practice yesterday. We will know which one will sit this afternoon as we get closer to game time.
3. The Return of Okposo?
After suffering his fourth concussion as a member of the blue-and-gold, many speculated that Okposo would perhaps call it a career. The 31-year-old stated that the thought did indeed cross his mind during his latest recovery.
Kyle Okposo told the media he thought about the possibility of retirement after suffering the concussion, but he got the answers/response needed to play and is excited to be back.— Lance Lysowski (@LLysowski) December 2, 2019
Expects to return some time during Western Canada trip.
At yesterday’s practice, Okposo rotated in with Evan Rodrigues on a line with Johan Larsson and Zemgus Girgensons. If the medical staff deems him healthy enough to play, perhaps we’ll see the return of the “LOG Line” against Vancouver.
Projected Lineups Based on Practices
Victor Olofsson - Jack Eichel - Sam Reinhart
Jeff Skinner - Marcus Johansson - Rasmus Asplund
Jimmy Vesey - Casey Mittelstadt - Conor Sheary
Zemgus Girgensons - Johan Larsson - Kyle Okposo / Evan Rodrigues
Brandon Montour - Rasmus Ristolainen
Marco Scandella - Henri Jokiharju
Jake McCabe - Zach Bogosian / Colin Miller
Starting Goaltender: Linus Ullmark (expected)
Tanner Pearson - Bo Horvat - Josh Leivo
J.T. Miller - Elias Pettersson - Brock Boeser
Antoine Roussel - Adam Gaudette - Nikolay Goldobin
Loui Eriksson - Tim Schaller - Zack MacEwen
Jordie Benn - Chris Tanev
Quinn Hughes - Tyler Myers
Oscar Fantenberg - Troy Stecher
Starting Goaltender: Thatcher Demko