Sabres at Lightning Preview: The quest for the elusive winning streak
The Sabres look to make it two wins in a row for the first time this season as they travel to Tampa Bay to take on a surprising Lightning team.
It wasn't pretty for much of the game, but when all was said and done, the Buffalo Sabres walked out of the BB&T Center last night with a win over the Florida Panthers.
Tonight, the Sabres look to make it two in a row for the first time all season as they take on the Tampa Bay Lightning, a team that's off to a surprisingly hot start. Tamp Bay currently sits fourth in the Atlantic Division and fifth in the East with a 6-3-0 record, but they're only two points out of a tie for first with a few games in hand.
The Sabres will have to battle tonight without the help of Mike Weber, who suffered a thumb injury last night and will be out for a while. However, some reinforcements may be on the way, as the team announced today that Ville Leino's injured rib is no longer bothering him, and he could return to the lineup as early as tonight. Jhonas Enroth was phenomenal last night making 44 saves, but as of this writing the team has not announced whether he earned a second consecutive start tonight, or whether Ryan Miller will be back between the pipes.
Buffalo Sabres (2!-9-1) at Tampa Bay Lightning (6-3-1)
Puck Drop - 7:00pm EST - Tampa Bay Times Forum - Tampa, FL
TV - MSG | Radio - WGR 550-AM
SBNation Lightning Blog - Raw Charge (Please play nice if you're going to visit.)
Three Things To Watch For
1. Will the three rookie defensemen continue to shine?
Mark Pysyk, Rasmus Ristolainen, and Nikita Zadorov all put in a great effort last night, with hits galore for all three and Ristolainen scoring his first career NHL goal. With Mike Weber out, the Sabres will have to rely even more on two 18 year olds and a 21 year old to stop veterans like Steven Stamkos and Martin St. Louis. So far, the youngsters haven't looked out of place, and their continued consistency will be something the organization will be looking for the rest of the season.
2. Does Ville Leino return to the lineup tonight?
The Sabres top three lines were outshot by a 2:1 margin last night in Florida, and though they put together a solid third period, they were once again dominated through the first two. The possible return of Leino should help with puck possession, and will allow Buffalo to roll with four full forward lines, rather than the 11 forwards they dressed last night.
3. Can the Sabres find their first winning streak of the season?
Projected BUF Lines
Vanek - Hodgson - Flynn
Foligno - Grigorenko - Ott
Girgensons - Larsson - Ennis
Leino - McCormick - Stafford
Ehrhoff - Pysyk
Zadorov - Myers
McBain - Ristolainen
Goal: Ryan Miller?
Scratches/Injuries/Suspensions: Scott, Kaleta, Weber, Tallinder