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Buffalo Sabres at Tampa Bay Lightning Preview: Will we see a new face or two?

The trade deadline stress is gone and we can get back to watching hockey.

NHL: Tampa Bay Lightning at Buffalo Sabres Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports

Buffalo Sabres at Tampa Bay Lightning: GAME #64

Time: 7:00 pm Eastern Time

Location: Amalie Arena

Broadcast/Streaming: Fox Sports Sun, 620 WDAE, Tampa Bay Lightning Power Play on iHeart Radio, TVAS, MSG-B

Opponent SBNation Site: Die By the Blade


After pushing their winning streak to four games with a 4-3 shootout victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs, the Lightning will be looking to pounce on the Buffalo Sabres. This is the first home game against the Sabres this season for the Lightning and third meeting out of four. The Lightning won the first game on 11/28/2017 in Buffalo in a 2-0 shut out. The second meeting didn’t turn out so well for the Lightning on the back side of a back-to-back losing to the Sabres 5-3. The Sabres also remain without star center Jack Eichel, out with a lower body injury.

The big question for the Lightning in this Wednesday night game is if we’ll see any new faces in the lineup. The Lightning acquired defenseman Ryan McDonagh and forward J.T. Miller from the New York Rangers on Monday at the trade deadline giving up forward Vladislav Namestnikov, two prospects, and two picks. McDonagh is reportedly recovering from an upper body injury and may not be available for a few more games. Miller was on the Rangers’ charter flight from New York to Vancouver when he got word that the trade happened. He will have had to fly back across the continent to make it to Tampa. With so much flying in the past 48 hours, the Lightning may want to give Miller another day to rest before putting him into the line-up.

The Lightning may be forced to play Miller anyways though after forwards Nikita Kucherov and Tyler Johnson were banged up in the Toronto game. Kucherov left with an upper body injury five minutes into the game and didn’t return. The early word was that he could potentially be back for tonight’s game. Johnson suffered a lower body injury late in the third period, but was able to return during overtime. Unfortunately, he is still injured and will be re-evaluated in a few days and is likely out of the line-up.

Because of the injuries, the Lightning have recalled forward Michael Bournival from the Syracuse Crunch of the AHL. Bournival spent some time with the Lightning earlier in the season playing in four games without registering a point. This year for the Crunch, he has put up 15 goals and 36 points in 48 games played as one of the team’s veteran leaders on an otherwise young roster. While I would have thought Matthew Peca would have been in line to get called back up, the Lightning instead went with the fourth line grinder Bournival, likely a sign that one or two of Ryan Callahan, Chris Kunitz, or Cory Conacher would move up higher in the line-up.

Hopefully we’ll have some word this morning on if Miller and Kucherov will play, but it may have to wait for pre-game skate before the game. Follow us on Twitter starting around 6:30 eastern time for updates during warm-ups of who’s skating and who could be in or out of the line-up.

Tampa Bay Lightning

Forward Lines


Defense Pairings

Victor Hedman - Anton Stralman
Mikhail Sergachev - Dan Girardi
Braydon Coburn - Andrej Sustr


Andrei Vasilevskiy
Louis Domingue

Opponent lines

Forward Lines

Zemgus Girgensons - Ryan O’Reilly - Sam Reinhart
Scott Wilson - Evan Rodrigues - Kyle Okposo
Benoit Pouliot - Johan Larsson - Jason Pominville
Jordan Nolan - Jack Josefson - Nick Baptiste

Defense Pairings

Marco Scandella - Rasmus Ristolainen
Viktor Antipin - Josh Gorges
Nathan Beaulieu - Justin Falk


Robin Lehner
Chad Johnson