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.

Comparison chart:

Lightning at Sabres Comparison

Game # 62Tampa Bay LightningBuffalo Sabres
Overall Record37-19-531-25-4
Home Record22-5-412-16-2
Road Record15-14-119-9-2
Goals For215223
Goals Against183214

Tampa Bay Lightning Potential Lines

Forward 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

Defense Pairings

Victor Hedman - Erik Cernak (?)

Mikhail Sergachev - Nick Perbix

Ian Cole - Darren Raddysh


Brian Elliott

Andrei Vasilevskiy

Buffalo Sabres Potential Lines

Forward 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

Defense Pairings

Owen Power - Henri Jokiharju

Mattias Samuelsson - Kale Clague

Jacob Bryson - Ilya Lyubushkin


Craig Anderson

Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen