Sabres host defending Cup champion Kings

Main storyline: The Buffalo Sabres (9-16-2) are back home after losing both games of the Florida road trip to the Tampa Bay Lightning and Florida Panthers. On Tuesday, the Sabres will host the Stanley Cup Champion Los Angeles Kings (14-8-5) from the First Niagara Center.

Season series: Tuesday’s game is the final matchup of the season between the two teams. The first time these two teams met this season was on October 23 in Los Angeles where the Kings shut out the Sabres 2-0 at the Staples Center. Jhonas Enroth made 37 saves on 39 shots faced in the game, but Jonathan Quick stopped all 29 shots he faced for his second shutout of the season. The last time the Sabres and Kings faced off in Buffalo was November 12, 2013 where the Sabres won 3-2 in shootout. It was the last game that former Sabres coach Ron Rolston coached for the organization.

Where they stand: The Sabres currently sit last in the Atlantic Division with 20 points. The Ottawa Senators currently sit second last in the division with 27 points, and they just fired head coach Paul MacLean yesterday. In the East, Buffalo sits tied for second worst total of points in the conference with the Columbus Blue Jackets. Only the Carolina Hurricanes have a worse point total with 19 points on the season. For the Kings, the currently sit fourth in the Pacific Division with 33 points. Although it is a bit surprising the Kings are in fourth in the division, Los Angeles currently would hold a wildcard spot in the Western Conference if the playoffs were to start today.

Recent performance: The Sabres were in Sunrise, Florida on Saturday to face the Panthers on Saturday night. The Panthers outshot the Sabres by a total of 37-28, but the Sabres kept close with Florida throughout the game. Goals from Drew Stafford and Brian Gionta tied the game twice, but a late second period goal from Panthers forward Nick Bjugstad was the difference maker. Roberto Luongo stops all 10 shots faced in the third period from he Sabres and held down the 3-2 victory. For the Kings, they lost its last game on Saturday at home to the Philadelphia Flyers. The Kings outshot the Flyers 38-16 in the game, but goals from Claude Giroux and Wayne Simmonds were just enough for the Flyers to squeak by the Stanley Cup Champs.

Buffalo notes: After winning six of seven games played, the Sabres have now lost two straight games to divisional opponents. The Sabres have been outscored by a total of 8-2 over the past two games, and are a minus-38 goal differential. The Sabres have been relatively healthy for the past few games as Cody McCormick and Michal Neuvirth both made returns to the lineup on the two-game road trip. The only injury Buffalo has right now is Matt Hackett, who is still recovering from his torn ACL suffered last season.

Opponent notes: After two straight shutouts from Jonathan Quick and Martin Jones, the Kings have found themselves on the losing side of the scoresheet again. After four losses in its last seven games, the Kings are looking to get back on track with another win against the Sabres. Marion Gaborik has been out a few games with an upper-body injury, but could return to the lineup for the Kings on Tuesday. Besides Gaborik, like the Sabres, the Kings are relatively healthy.

Conclusion: The Sabres are back home and will look to take down the defending champs and get back on its winning groove. Jhonas Enroth is expected to get the start for the Sabres, while Jonathan Quick will get the nod for the Kings. Opening face-off is scheduled for 7:30pm, and the game can be seen on the NBC Sports Network.

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