|Florida Panthers (23-12-4 / 50 PTS) @ Buffalo Sabres (15-20-4 / 48 PTS)|
|Tuesday, January 5th, 2016 – 7:00PM EST|
|First Niagara Center – Buffalo, NY|
Projected Line Combinations
|11 Huberdeau – 16 Barkov – 68 Jagr||L1||88 McGinn – 90 O’Reilly – 23 Reinhart|
|36 Jokinen – 21 Trocheck – 18 Smith||L2||28 Girgensons – 15 Eichel – 12 Gionta|
|73 Pirri – 27 Bjugstad – 48 Shaw||L3||9 Kane – 22 Larsson – 26 Moulson|
|42 Howden – 17 MacKenzie – 53 Knight||L4||17 Legwand – 59 Schaller – 82 Foligno|
|51 Campbell – 44 Gudbranson||D1||4 Gorges – 55 Ristolainen|
|33 Mitchell – 6 Petrovic||D2||29 McCabe – 47 Bogosian|
|7 Kulikov – 5 Ekblad||D3||6 Weber – 46 Franson|
|1 Luongo – 35 Montoya||G||31 Johnson35 Ullmark – 31 Johnson|
|Thornton, Bolland||X||Colaiacovo, Ennis|
|Kampfer, Savard, Hodges||INJ||Deslauriers, Lehner, McCormick, Pysyk|
Top 5 Scorers
|1. Jaromir Jagr||13||15||28|
|2. Jonathan Huberdeau||4||22||26|
|3. Jussi Jokinen||7||17||24|
|4. Vincent Trocheck||11||12||23|
|5. Aleksander Barkov||11||12||23|
|1. Ryan O’Reilly||15||18||33|
|2. Rasmus Ristolainen||7||19||26|
|3. Jack Eichel||13||12||25|
|4. Jamie McGinn||8||9||17|
|5. Sam Reinhary||9||7||16|
Expected Starting Goaltenders
Between the Lines
A 6-game road trip is upon us as the Panthers head to Buffalo to take on the Sabres for the 3rd time this season. The Panthers extended their winning streak to 9 games on Sunday after narrowly defeating the Minnesota Wild 2-1 in regulation. Al Montoya backstopped the Panthers to a victory by making a season-high 39 saves on 40 shots while Jaromir Jagr scored 2 goals, one in the opening minute and another just before the halfway point of the 3rd period. Florida was outshot 40 to 29, however the Wild had few quality scoring chances and, for the most part, had a limited number of second opportunities.
The Sabres enter Tuesday’s game having not played since Saturday when they lost 4-3 to the Detroit Red Wings. Tyler Ennis will not play for Buffalo against the Panthers as he is out week-to-week with an upper-body injury. Nicolas Deslauriers will be out of the lineup as well after injuring his foot while blocking a Niklas Kronwall shot on Saturday. The Sabres have lost 7 of their last 10 games.
Nick Bjugstad played in his first game in over a month after missing 15 games with migraines, and you could certainly see that he was rusty. His ice time was limited to just over 11 minutes and he did not get any power play time, although you can expect that to change as he gets back into the routine. The Panthers reassigned Connor Brickley to the Portland Pirates of the AHL on Monday with Bjugstad returning to the lineup. Gerard Gallant told the media that Dave Bolland is not expected to play till at least after the All-Star Break. Bolland has been scratched since late December after he was recalled from a conditioning stint during which he only played in two games. Dale Tallon says he still has “nagging injuries” that have prevented him from playing at 100% and that he is expected to help the Panthers as they try to make the playoffs.
The two teams last faced each other on November 12th when the Sabres defeated the Panthers 3-2 in regulation after a Sam Reinhart power play goal in the 3rd period which went on to become the game-winner. They also met on October 15th when Jaromir Jagr tallied two goals and Aleksander Barkov recorded the game-winner to lift the Panthers to a 3-2 victory at home. Roberto Luongo has 3 straight shutouts against the Sabres in Buffalo.
Last Game Played
The Panthers faced the Wild on Sunday night for their 39th game of the season and won 2-1 in regulation. You can find our recap by clicking here.