NHL PREVIEWS |

Tampa Bay Lightning vs. Buffalo Sabres Preview and Predictions 11-08-2019


The Buffalo Sabres will have plenty of local heroes on the ice when they take on the Tampa Bay Lightning on Friday afternoon in the 2019 Global Series at Ericsson Globe in Stockholm, Sweden. Buffalo defensemen Rasmus Dahlin and Lawrence Pilut, along with forwards Marcus Johansson, Johan Larsson and Victor Olofsson, return to their home country for the first of a two-game set between the Atlantic Division rivals.

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"They're excited, as they should be," Sabres wing Jeff Skinner told the Buffalo News of the quintet of Swedes. "We've got a lot of them and we can feed off that energy. It's going to be a fun night for everyone but obviously, for them, it's going to be extra special." Both teams should be fresh for the back-to-back as the Sabres dropped a 1-0 decision against the New York Islanders on Saturday in their last game while Tampa Bay lost against the same team one day earlier before getting on a plane. The time off has also given All-Star defenseman Victor Hedman - the Lightning's lone Swede - time to heal up a lower-body injury and the former Norris Trophy winner was on the ice for practice Tuesday and Thursday, but remains day-to-day. "Watching practice for two days wasn't what I expected when we knew we were going to be coming here," Hedman said Tuesday. "I was out there for a while and it felt good."

TV: 2 p.m. ET, NBC Sports Network, Sportsnet One

ABOUT THE LIGHTNING (6-5-2): The top offensive players have not been quite as unstoppable in the first 13 games of the season and Tampa Bay entered Thursday fifth from the bottom in the league in goals-against per game (3.62). Captain Steven Stamkos leads the team with 13 points and his five goals leave him two shy of becoming the first in franchise history to reach 400, while reigning Hart Trophy winner Nikita Kucherov has 11 points overall but one goal in the past nine games. Reigning Vezina Trophy winner Andrei Vasilevskiy (5-4-0, .904 save percentage) has not been able to hold off the onslaught of shots against at times - 35 per game, third-most in the league through Wednesday - as the Lightning often struggle in their own end.

ABOUT THE SABRES (9-4-2): Buffalo comes to Sweden winless in its last three games (0-2-1), managing three goals combined, after earning points in 10 of the season's first 12 contests. Center Jack Eichel leads the team with 17 points despite a team-worst minus-5 rating, Skinner has equaled the captain with seven goals and Olofsson boasts six in his rookie season - all of them coming on the power play. Dahlin, who was third in the voting for the Calder Trophy last season as an 18-year-old, is tied with forward Sam Reinhart (five goals) for second on the team with 11 points while Johansson has four goals to go along with five assists, Larsson owns one of each and Pilut was recalled with blue liner Marco Sandella (lower body) out.

OVERTIME

1. Tampa Bay LW Ondrej Palat shares the team lead with five goals and a plus-6 rating and is two shy of 200 for his career.

2. Buffalo G Carter Hutton (6-2-1, .928 SP) has allowed two or fewer goals in six of his nine starts this season.

3. The Sabres entered Thursday third in the NHL in power-play percentage (26.9) and the Lightning were 27th in penalty killing (72.9).

Prediction

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Key Players to Watch

Stadium

First Niagara Center
Buffalo, New York, USA.
Capacity: 19,070

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Last Injuries

Buffalo Sabres

  • Vladimir Sobotka

    Knee
    Ques Thurs | questionable

    Sobotka sat out the previous game with a knee injury, and it is unknown if he will be available against the Hurricanes on Thursday.

  • Marco Scandella

    Lower Body
    Late Nov | I-R

    Scandella suffered a lower body injury, and he is expected to be on the injured reserve list until at least the end of November.

  • Brandon Montour

    Hand
    Prob Sat | probable

    Montour has been activated from the injured reserve after recovering from a hand injury, and it is projected that he will play in Saturday's game against the Islanders.

  • Jimmy Vesey

    Upper Body
    Out indefinitely | out

    Vesey sustained an upper-body injury, and there is no timetable for return.

Tampa Bay Lightning

  • Pat Maroon

    Upper Body
    Prob Fri | probable

    Maroon has been activated from the injured reserve list after healing from an upper-body injury, and he is likely to take part in Friday's matchup against the Sabres.

  • Victor Hedman

    Lower Body
    Prob Fri | probable

    Hedman is expected to return to action Friday versus the Sabres after being activated from the injured reserve list where he was recovering from a lower-body injury.

  • Erik Cernak

    Lower Body
    Ques Fri | questionable

    Cernak sat out the last game with a lower-body injury, and it has yet to be established if he will play Friday against the Islanders.

  • Andrei Vasilevskiy

    Rest
    Doub Wed | doubtful

    Vasilevskiy is not expected to take part in Wednesday's contest with the Devils as he is to be rested.

buffalo-sabres Stats 2019-2020

Offensive
Player GP G GWG GO GP1 GP2 Gp3 GPP GSH PPP PSH SHI SHOT
Player GP G GWG GO GP1 GP2 Gp3 GPP GSH PPP PSH SHI SHOT
Statistics
Player GP GS FL FW H L W OL PM
Player GP GS FL FW H L W OL PM
Assits
Player GP GS A APP ASH
Player GP GS A APP ASH
Defense
Player GP GS GA GAA GP1A GP2A GP3A GOA SA SOA SP1A SP2A SP3A BS
Player GP GS GA GAA GP1A GP2A GP3A GOA SA SOA SP1A SP2A SP3A BS
Shutouts
Player GP GS SHU SHUA SHUS SHUL
Player GP GS SHU SHUA SHUS SHUL
Time on ice
Player GP GS TOIESS TOIPPS TOIS TOISHS
Player GP GS TOIESS TOIPPS TOIS TOISHS

tampa-bay-lightning Stats 2019-2020

Offensive
Player GP G GWG GO GP1 GP2 Gp3 GPP GSH PPP PSH SHI SHOT
Player GP G GWG GO GP1 GP2 Gp3 GPP GSH PPP PSH SHI SHOT
Statistics
Player GP GS FL FW H L W OL PM
Player GP GS FL FW H L W OL PM
Assits
Player GP GS A APP ASH
Player GP GS A APP ASH
Defense
Player GP GS GA GAA GP1A GP2A GP3A GOA SA SOA SP1A SP2A SP3A BS
Player GP GS GA GAA GP1A GP2A GP3A GOA SA SOA SP1A SP2A SP3A BS
Shutouts
Player GP GS SHU SHUA SHUS SHUL
Player GP GS SHU SHUA SHUS SHUL
Time on ice
Player GP GS TOIESS TOIPPS TOIS TOISHS
Player GP GS TOIESS TOIPPS TOIS TOISHS