⏰ 7 p.m. ? MSG ? WGR550
After falling to the Boston Bruins on the road Saturday, the Sabres return to KeyBank Center to host the New Jersey Devils. However, as a result of losses by the New York Islanders and Montreal Canadiens in recent nights, Buffalo currently holds one of the two Eastern Conference Wild Card spots heading into tonight’s matchup.
Season series: Tonight’s game is the first of three meetings between both teams. Last season, the Sabres won two of three against the Devils despite each team’s difference in their overall performance from a year ago.
Buffalo notes: Even with earning a recent win at home over the Florida Panthers, the team is currently on a slide that has seen them lose six of their last eight games. Jack Eichel has also missed the last two games for the Sabres, and will not play tonight. Sam Reinhart may not play due to illness, but Zemgus Girgensons is expected back in the lineup since suffering an upper-body injury on December 22. With 50 points in 42 games, the Sabres are just barely in the playoffs, hanging onto the second Wild Card spot and needing to string together some wins, starting with tonight’s game.
“The good news is I feel really good today and back to my normal self. I’m excited about the possibility of getting into another game tonight… I think we’ve just got to get back to having fun and embracing the challenge that lies ahead for us.” – Sam Reinhart
New Jersey notes: Currently on a stretch where they have won four of the last six games, the Devils will travel to Buffalo with the possibility of reigning Hart Trophy winner Taylor Hall back in the lineup. Now off the injured reserve list, the current points leader for New Jersey could make his return tonight. After making the playoffs last year, the Devils have faced struggles, having earned only 39 points in 41 games played and sit 11 points out of a playoff spot.
Starting goaltenders: After two consecutive starts from Linus Ullmark, Carter Hutton is expected to return between the pipes tonight for the Sabres. Keith Kinkaid is the likely starter for New Jersey tonight as they conclude a four-game road trip in Buffalo.