⏰ 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.
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.
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.