The Buffalo Sabres will play their penultimate preseason game at KeyBank Center tonight at 7:00 PM. All indications point to the Sabres playing what they project to be their opening night roster and lineup; treating the game as a chance to mesh before the start of the regular season.
“Lots of these guys want to play both games. They feel that’s the way they’re going to get ready. In the last 10 or 12 days before the opener, you might have four games. There’s only two [this year], so you’re going to see pretty close to our lineup just because these guys want the game reps and there’s enough rest in between to still be ready for the opener.”Head Coach Don Granato
As previously reported, the Sabres’ opening night lines will see Asplund and Okposo centered by Girgensons; Skinner and Olofsson with Thompson; Tuch and Quinn with Mittelstadt; and Krebs and Peterka with Cozens. Although it appears from practice that Vinnie Hinostroza will play tonight in place of Victor Olofsson.
On defense we expect to see Samuelsson with Dahlin; Power with Jokiharju, and Jacob Bryson with Ilya Lyubushkin. It appears that Lawrence Pilut will not be in the lineup tonight.
Craig Anderson and Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen are reported to be the goaltenders dressing tonight.
The Hurricanes are taking the opposite approach to what will be their last preseason game. With roster spots apparently up for grabs, Carolina is dressing younger players and veterans looking to secure a regular roster spot. Of note, Derek Stepan, who is on a Professional Tryout Contract (PTO) will play tonight.
Given the disparity in the lineups, one would expect the Sabres to perform well and win tonight’s exhibition. We should look for the lines to develop some chemistry in what should be a tune-up game. The game will be broadcast on MSG.