NHL PREVIEWS |

Buffalo Sabres vs. Tampa Bay Lightning Preview and Predictions 11-09-2019


The Tampa Bay Lightning provided a glimpse of what helped them match the NHL regular-season record with 62 wins in 2018-19 during the opener of the Global Series in Stockholm, Sweden, and look to complete a sweep the two-game set with the Buffalo Sabres on Saturday. Reigning Hart Trophy winner Nikita Kucherov scored a brilliant goal, the Lightning added another on their talented power play and then closed out a 3-2 victory over Buffalo on Friday.

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Tampa Bay are still in the bottom third of the league in goals-against per game (3.50), but gave up only 22 shots en route to a satisfying victory over an Atlantic Division foe as coach Jon Cooper told reporters: "We made smart decisions with the puck. And when you do that you limit odd-man rushes, which I thought we did tonight." While the Lightning found some remnants of their top form, the Sabres continue to struggle putting the puck in the net as they have managed five goals during a 0-3-1 stretch. "Our offense definitely needs to shoot more," Buffalo coach Ralph Krueger told reporters. "We need to create more pressure on net. We'll definitely be speaking about that." Sam Reinhart tied captain Jack Eichel and fellow forward Jeff Skinner for the team lead in goals with seven after scoring twice Friday the Sabres, who suited up five of their six Swedes on the roster.

TV: 1 p.m. ET, NHL Network, Sportsnet One, MSG (Buffalo), FS Sun (Tampa Bay)

ABOUT THE SABRES (9-5-2): Eichel was held off the scoresheet and managed one shot on net Friday, but was a plus-2 and still leads the team with 17 points - four more than his linemate Reinhart. Forward Vladimir Sobotka needed help leaving the ice after taking a low-bridge hit from Kucherov in the first period and is not likely to play Saturday, while defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen finished with nine hits and had an assist for his 200th career point. Swede Linus Ullmark turned aside 31 shots in the opener of the set and Carter Hutton (6-2-1, 2.09 goals-against average, .928 save percentage) is expected to start Saturday.

ABOUT THE LIGHTNING (7-5-2): Kucherov, who recorded 41 goals last season, scored for the second time in 10 games Friday as he swept Brayden Point's elevated pass behind Ullmark for his fifth of the season 3:19 into the game. "That's a world-class finish," Cooper told reporters of Kucherov's effort. ". ... Not a lot of guys can do that, but he's one of them. I thought he had a great game after that." Andrei Vasilevskiy made 20 saves to move within one of Ben Bishop (131) for the franchise record in wins, but backup Curtis McElhinney (1-1-2, 3.94, .899) is expected to be in net for Saturday's game.

OVERTIME

1. Buffalo's rookie RW Victor Olofsson from Sweden had an assist Friday after being held off the scoresheet in three straight games.

2. Tampa Bay D Victor Hedman, the team's only Swede, had an assist Friday after missing the previous two games with a lower-body injury.

3. The Sabres are among the league leaders at 25.9 percent on the power play, but went 0-for-2 on Friday and are 3-for-23 in the last eight games.

Prediction

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Key Players to Watch

Stadium

Amalie Arena
Tampa, Florida, USA.
Capacity: 19,204

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Last Injuries

Tampa Bay Lightning

  • Nikita Kucherov

    Upper Body
    Ques Thurs | questionable

    Kucherov left the previous game with an upper-body injury, and it is unclear if he draw back into the lineup Thursday against the Blackhawks.

  • Steven Stamkos

    Undisclosed
    Prob Tues | probable

    Stamkos is expected to be available for Tuesday's game versus the Blues despite an undefined injury.

  • 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.

Buffalo Sabres

  • Tage Thompson

    Shoulder
    Late Dec | out

    Thompson is projected to miss three to five weeks due to a shoulder injury.

  • Kyle Okposo

    Concussion
    Out indefinitely | I-R

    Okposo has been sent to the injured reserve list with a concussion, and it is uncertain how much time he will need to recuperate.

  • Johan Larsson

    Upper Body
    Out indefinitely | out

    Larsson will miss an extended period due to an upper-body injury.

  • Marcus Johansson

    Upper Body
    Early Dec | I-R

    Johansson is expected to be sidelined until at least the beginning of December with an upper-body injury and has been placed on injured reserve.

  • Vladimir Sobotka

    Lower Body
    Late Dec | I-R

    Sobotka has landed on injured reserve due to a lower-body injury, and he is expected to miss four to six weeks.

  • Marco Scandella

    Lower Body
    Prob Thurs | probable

    Scandella has been activated from the injured reserve list after healing from a lower-body injury. He is expected to be available for Thursday's game versus the Hurricanes.

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

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