Tampa Bay Lightning at Buffalo Sabres Preview and Game Day Thread
Another back-to-back this weekend
Tampa Bay Lightning at Buffalo Sabres: GAME #62
Time: 12:30 pm Eastern Time
Location: Keybank Center
Broadcast/Streaming: BSSUN, MSG-B, ESPN+, HULU
Opponent SBNation Site: Die by the Blade
After making some quick retooling at the 2023 NHL Trade Deadline, the Tampa Bay Lightning are back in action with another back-to-back games on the road this weekend. They face the still-chasing-the-playoffs Buffalo Sabres tonight, then they will visit the Metropolitan Division leader Carolina Hurricanes tomorrow in Raleigh.
The Lightning have slowed down a little bit recently, posting three consecutive losses over the last week. This, however, shouldn’t be taken as a reason to panic as the Lightning tend to slump around this time of the year in latest seasons. Last season they recorded seven losses in 15 games during March, in the shortened 2020-21 season they finished with 12 losses in 24 games and a year before the Bolts had seven losses over the last 10 games of the season. But as we all know, they were a completely different team when playoff time came around.
As of now, second place in the division and home-ice advantage in the first-round is still within the Lightning’s reach. The Toronto Maple Leafs have extended their lead to five points, but the Lightning still have one game in hand, so that race for a desirable second place will continue over the last twenty games of the regular season.
The Lightning haven’t shared any updates on Erik Cernak, who left their most recent game against Pittsburgh during the second period. They also reassigned defenseman Darren Raddysh, who made his season debut for the Lightning in the previous game, to the Syracuse Crunch, but that could be just a paper transaction to make him eligible for the AHL playoffs. We’ll also see if a newly acquired Michael Eyssimont will make his debut for the Lightning tonight, he arrived to Tampa on the day they played against the Penguins.
Since beating the Lightning in overtime on February 23, the Sabres have split their last four games, but are coming off a 7-1 debacle in their latest game against the Boston Bruins. They also lost two of their key players to injuries: Alex Tuch is currently week-to-week with a lower-body injury, while Rasmus Dahlin is more of a day-to-day. He participated in yesterday’s practice with the team and could return to the lineup in tonight’s game. Buffalo also acquired forward Jordan Greenway on the Deadline Day from the Minnesota Wild yesterday, he also might slide into the lineup tonight.
The Sabres are currently four points behind the New York Islanders, who are taking the last wild card spot in the Eastern Conference, but have four games in hand and higher than the Isles by point percentage. If they make playoffs this season, it will be their first playoff appearance since 2011.
The Lightning are playing Buffalo for the fourth and final time this regular season. So far they’re 2-0-1 against them this year, two of their games were decided in overtime this season. The Lightning outchanced them with 68.64 xGF% and 58.12 CF% in their last game over a week ago, but allowed too many breakaways and one of them eventually lead to an overtime shorthanded goal while the Lightning were on the power play.
Lightning at Sabres Comparison
|Game # 62||Tampa Bay Lightning||Buffalo Sabres|
Tampa Bay Lightning Potential Lines
Brandon Hagel - Brayden Point - Nikita Kucherov
Steven Stamkos - Anthony Cirelli - Alex Killorn
Tanner Jeannot - Nick Paul - Ross Colton
Pat Maroon - Pierre-Edouard Bellemare - Corey Perry
Victor Hedman - Erik Cernak (?)
Mikhail Sergachev - Nick Perbix
Ian Cole - Darren Raddysh
Buffalo Sabres Potential Lines
Jeff Skinner - Tage Thompson - Jack Quinn
Casey Mittelstadt - Dylan Cozens - Jordan Greenway
JJ Peterka - Peyton Krebs - Victor Olofsson
Zemgus Girgensons - Tyson Jost - Kyle Okposo
Owen Power - Henri Jokiharju
Mattias Samuelsson - Kale Clague
Jacob Bryson - Ilya Lyubushkin