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2019 slate begins tonight

Sabres host Panthers, look to start new year on positive note

⏰ 7 p.m.   ? MSG   ? WGR550

Buffalo enters the 2019 calendar year looking for a fresh start after a rough December that saw them fall from the top of the NHL standings to the middle of the pack, barely holding a playoff spot. Tonight, they take on a Florida Panthers team that has given them fits.

Season series: Tonight is the third of four meetings this season, but the Panthers have already taken the first two.

All-time series: This is the 99th meeting between Buffalo and Florida, with the Sabres having a 48-46 edge with four ties. However, the Panthers have won each of the last seven meetings, dating all the way back to April 2017.

Buffalo notes:

The Sabres hope Jack Eichel returns to the lineup after missing most of the game against Boston on New Year’s Eve. The Sabres need a good January after a rough December, where they finished 4-6-3. The Sabres started the season 6-4-2 in October and an impressive 11-3-1 in November. 

Buffalo hope to find their offense after scoring more than two goals just once in the last six games, which was when they beat the Anaheim Ducks, 3-0, on December 22nd.

Since their 10-game winning streak ended, Jack Eichel and Sam Reinhart each have 21 points, Jeff skinner has 12, but no other forward has more than three.

Florida notes:

The Panthers enter the new year coming off two straight wins, and with a new defenseman in Chris Wideman, who arrived in a trade from Edmonton that sent Alec Petrovic up north. The Panthers are currently on a 6-2-0 run since December 15th when they beat the Toronto Maple Leafs in OT.

James Reimer has been the hot hand for Florida recently, winning his last three games, including in overtime Monday against the Detroit Red Wings after replacing Roberto Luongo. Despite his hot play, Roberto Luongo has been confirmed for tonight’s start. He has been superb against Buffalo throughout his career and has a sparkling 11-1 record in his last 12 games against the Sabres.

Starting goaltenders: 

Line Combos:

Offense

Defense

Goaltenders

StartingBackup

 

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NHL Standings

TEAMGPRECPTS
Atlantic Division Leaders:
4937-10-276
4829-17-260
4927-17-559
Metropolitan Division Leaders:
4829-15-462
4828-17-359
4827-16-559
Wild Card leaders:
5027-18-559
4826-16-658
-----------------------------------------
4824-18-654
4823-20-551
4821-20-749
4719-20-846
4819-23-644
4818-23-743
4919-25-543
5018-25-743
TEAMGPRECPTS
Central Division Leaders:
4831-15-264
5028-18-460
4822-18-852
Pacific Division Leaders:
5032-13-569
5028-15-763
5029-17-462
Wild Card leaders:
4924-21-452
5023-21-652
-----------------------------------------
4824-21-351
5021-20-951
4923-23-349
4822-22-448
4721-21-547
5017-24-943
4919-26-442