Sabres Projected Lines:
*No morning skate today and likely sticking with 11 forwards and 7 defenseman. If I had to guess, I’d say Rodrigues is the odd man out. D pairings don’t mean much on paper with 7 defensemen.
Olofsson – Eichel – Reinhart
Skinner – Larsson – Sheary
Mittelstadt – Johansson – Vesey
Girgensons – Asplund – Rodrigues
Montour – Ristolainen
Scandella – Jokiharju
Miller – Bogosian
Calgary Projected Lines
Tkachuk – Lindholm – Mangiapane
Monahan – Backlund – Dube
Lucic – Ryan – Gaudreau
Reider – Jankowski – Frolik
Giordano – Brodie
Hanifin – Hamonic
Kylington – Andersson
Keys to the Game
Sabres see success when scoring first
It’s the tale of two teams, depending on who scores first. The Sabres are 11-3-2 when scoring first, but 2-7-3 when opponent scores first and 0-4-2 when on the road and their opponent scores first.
It’s easier said than done, much easier actually, but scoring the first goal looks to be imperative if the Sabres will have success in Calgary tonight.
Johnny Hockey bumped down to third line
Whether it’s a demotion or a shakeup to distribute more skill throughout the lineup, Johnny Gaudreau is now on a line with Milan Lucic and Derek Ryan.
Taking his place on the first line is Andrew Mangiapane. He only has two goals (no assists) in his last nine games, so this leads me to believe this is more about getting players that are in scoring droughts back on the producing track.
For a team that was so successful last season, this year’s Calgary team will need to fight tooth and nail for points. The Sabres need to be ready, especially with Rittich in net. He was fantastic in Buffalo last week.
Sabres rolling 11-7 again
While it’s still unconfirmed, I feel confident in saying the Sabres will go with 11 forwards and seven defensemen. While this is mostly seen as a strategy for a few games here and there, it looks to be working for the Sabres. It’s cutting down the ice time of players like Ristolainen and McCabe, while giving more time to forwards like Eichel, Reinhart, Skinner, Olofsson and even though he’s not playing very well recently, Johansson.