Preview: Sabres @ Panthers, 10/15/15

10/15/15 – 7:30 PM ET 1st 2nd 3rd Total
Sabres (1-2-0) 0
@ Panthers (2-1-0) 0

At A Glance

Top 5 Scorers

Florida Panthers

Player Goals Assists Points
1. Vincent Trocheck 1 3 4
2. Jaromir Jagr 2 1 3
3. Jussi Jokinen 2 1 3
4. Reilly Smith 2 1 3
5. Aleksander Barkov 1 2 3

Buffalo Sabres

Player Goals Assists Points
1. Matt Moulson 1 2 3
2. Jamie McGinn 0 2 2
3. Ryan O’Reilly 1 1 2
4. Evander Kane 0 2 2
5. Marcus Foligno 0 2 2

Projected Lineups

Florida_Panthers.svg VS. 263px-Buffalo_Sabres_Logo.svg
11 Huberdeau – 16 Barkov – 68 Jagr L1 90 O’Reilly – 28 Girgensons – 63 Ennis
73 Pirri – 27 Bjugstad – 18 Smith L2 9 Kane – 15 Eichel – 82 Foligno
36 Jokinen – 63 Bolland – 21 Trocheck L3 26 Moulson – 22 Larsson – 88 McGinn
42 Howden – 17 MacKenzie – 86 Brickley L4 44 Deslauriers – 17 Legwand – 23 Reinhart
51 Campbell – 5 Ekblad D1 4 Gorges – 55 Ristolainen
7 Kulikov – 6 Petrovic D2 6 Weber – 46 Franson
33 Mitchell – 44 Gudbranson D3 29 McCabe – 3 Pysyk
 1 Luongo G1 31 Johnson
 35 Montoya G2 50 Lieuwen
 3 Kampfer, 4 Olsen, 22 Thornton X  12 Gionta, 25 Colaiacovo, 65 Donovan
 Savard, Hodges IR  Bogosian, Guhle, Lehner, McCormick, Sanguinetti

Between the Lines

The Panthers return home to play the Buffalo Sabres on Thursday night after splitting their first road trip of the season. Following a 1-0 loss in Philadelphia, the Panthers played two periods of tight hockey in Carolina before scoring three goals in under 5 minutes to secure a 4-1 victory. Nick Bjugstad scored his second goal of the season just a couple of minutes into the game after a Brian Campbell pass found him in the slot, and the Hurricanes wouldn’t tie it until the second half of the second period when Elias Lindholm one-timed the puck past Al Montoya from the high slot. The Panthers came alive with about 7 minutes remaining in the third period when Connor Brickley tallied his first NHL goal when a Dmitry Kulikov backhander rebound to the front of the crease where Brickley was stationed. Aleksander Barkov tapped home a goal after a Jaromir Jagr shot trickled through the legs of Eddie Lack just a few minutes later, and Jussi Jokinen sealed the deal with the Panthers’ first empty net goal of the season.

The Sabres are coming off their first win of the season after they defeated the Columbus Blue Jackets 4-2 on Monday afternoon. The second-overall pick of the 2015 Draft, Jack Eichel, tallied the game-winning goal for the Sabres in the third period after he stole the puck from a Blue Jackets player at the offensive zone blue-line, skated back up the left side and ripped the puck short-side on Sergei Bobrovsky from the left face-off circle. The Sabres have been without starting goaltender Robin Lehner since opening night after he sustained a high ankle injury that sidelined him for 6-10 weeks. Three of the Sabres’ goals on Monday came over the course of 7 power play opportunities, although both goals they allowed came while they were on the penalty kill.

Roberto Luongo, who’s expected to start for the Panthers on Thursday, had two shutouts in 5 starts against the Sabres last season. Luongo is 14-6-0 in his career against the Sabres with a .940 save percentage, a 1.81 goals against average, and 5 shutouts. The last time the two teams met was on February 28th when the Panthers came out victorious by a score of 5-3 thanks to two consecutive power play goals by Brandon Pirri and a Scottie Upshall wrist shot from the slot. Sabres’ goaltender Chad Johnson is likely to get the start with Lehner out, and he’s 2-0 against the Panthers in two career starts with a .935 save percentage and a 1.50 goals against average. The Sabres should not be taken lightly especially considering they’ve got a good amount of offensive firepower in guys like Eichel, O’Reilly, Moulson, Ennis, Girgensons, and Evander Kane.

Who’s hot?

Almost everyone on the Panthers is hot early on in the season. Aleksander Barkov, Jaromir Jagr, Brandon Pirri, Reilly Smith, and Jussi Jokinen all have three points in their first three games, while Nick Bjugstad has two goals. The 4th-line of Quinton Howden, Derek MacKenzie, and Connor Brickley were all very active on the forecheck last game against the Hurricanes, and the Panthers’ defenseman have all been solid to start the season. For the Sabres, rookie Jack Eichel has two goals in his first 3 games while Matt Moulson has a goal and three assists in the same amount of time.

Pre-Game Reading

Recap: Panthers @ Hurricanes, 10/13/15

Connor Brickley, Al Montoya star as Florida Panthers top Carolina 4-1 – by George Richards, Miami Herald

Rookie Connor Brickley scores first NHL goal to lead Panthers to 4-1 victory over ‘Canes – by Harvey Fialkov, Sun-Sentinel

2015-16 Florida Panthers Season Preview

Meet the newest Panther: Reilly Smith

Brickley ready to make an impact at the NHL level

Off-season, pre-season prove Panthers’ depth is better than ever

Last Game Played

The Panthers faced the Hurricanes on Tuesday night for their third game in four nights and won 4-1. You can find a link to our recap of that game under the “Pre-Game Reading” section above. Here’s the NHL video recap of last night’s game:

Pre-game Tweets


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