Sabres look to stay afloat against Avalanche

Buffalo is 11 points out of a playoff spot and hosting one of the West’s best teams.

Game 53

Buffalo Sabres (23-22-7) vs. Colorado Avalanche (28-16-6)

Puck Drop: 7:00 PM EST | KeyBank Center | Buffalo, NY


Radio: WGR 550

SB Nation Avalanche Blog: Mile High Hockey

Know Your Opponent

Colorado Avalanche

Record: 28-16-6

Last 10: 5-3-2

Division Ranking: 3rd in Central Division

Conference Ranking: 4th in Western Conference

PP: 22nd (18.9%)

PK: 21st (79.1%)

What to Watch

1. Stop the Goals

Buffalo has themselves a wonderful challenge on Tuesday night, when the host the Colorado Avalanche.

Colorado currently leads the Western Conference with 182 goals scored. Adjusting the stats for goals scored divided by games played, the Avalanche edge out the Florida Panthers with a 3.64 GF/GP for the league’s top spot.

On the flip side, Buffalo allows 3.08 goals per game. That puts Buffalo at 11th-worst in the league.

If Colorado starts skating downhill, this one could get ugly quick.

2. Hutton Back?

In two starts since Linus Ullmark went down with a lower-body injury, Carter Hutton has been stellar.

Hutton has allowed three goals on 52 shots, good for a .942 save percentage. That flies in the face of his season save percentage of .897.

As for Hutton’s goals allowed average, that also has improved these past two games. His season average of 3.13 has been right around 1.50.

Hutton’s resurgence has been a sight for sore eyes. Buffalo can only continue to hope that this comeback only grows.

3. Eichel Still Rules

After Jack Eichel’s game-winning overtime goal in Buffalo’s last game, he finds himself sitting at 65 points (31 goals, 34 assists) in 51 games.

Eichel continues to lead the way offensively for the Buffalo Sabres and still is on-pace to set career-highs in all categories.

Eichel’s 31 goals are a career-high. He is on-pace for a career-high 103 points and is on-pace to tie a career-high with 54 assists.

If only the rest of the lineup was as talented as Jack Eichel currently is.

Projected Lineups

Buffalo Sabres


Jimmy Vesey - Jack Eichel - Sam Reinhart

Conor Sheary - Marcus Johansson - Michael Frolik

Jeff Skinner - Johan Larsson - Evan Rodrigues

Zemgus Girgensons - Curtis Lazar - Jean-Sebastien Dea


Lawrence Pilut - Rasmus Ristolainen

Rasmus Dahlin - Henri Jokiharju

Brandon Montour - Colin Miller

Starting Goaltender: Carter Hutton (expected)

Colorado Avalanche


Gabriel Landeskog - Nathan MacKinnon - Mikko Rantanen

Valeri Nichushkin - Nazem Kadri - Andre Burakovsky

Matt Calvert - Pierre-Edouard Bellemare - JT Compher

Joonas Donskoi - Tyson Jost - Matt Nieto


Ryan Graves - Cale Makar

Samuel Girard - Erik Johnson

Ian Cole - Nikita Zadorov

Starting Goaltender: Philipp Grubauer (expected)