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Bolts Look to Bounce Back Against a Struggling Sabers Team
By Jake Ricker
The Tampa Bay Lightning 16-5-2 take on the Buffalo Sabres 6-14-4 for the first time and will look to bounce back as they start another back at back at 7:00pm. Let’s take a look at what both teams need to do to get the victory and who will be on the ice to try and get the win.
The Bolts have struggled as of late as they have dropped their last two to two backup goaltenders who had no wins to that point. The Bolts have not been able to get their offense going as they have only scored three goals in their past two. While that may not seem so bad this Tampa team can average 4 goals a game when they’re hot. In order to win tonight, the Bolts will have to be smart when they decide to pass the puck and make sure they shoot when given the chance. The Bolts will also need to play better on defense. While the PK hasn’t done horrible the 5 on 5 defenses has struggled, too many times the Bolts have left opposing players all alone in front of Tampa goaltenders, therefore, they have to get a body in front of the net at all times.
Three Keys To Success
1. Regain Form
The past back to back gave us 2 losses. Time to bounce back against a not so good Buffalo squad.
2. Keep Shooting
A Bolts team that couldn’t stop scoring in October has struggled to find offense lately. Keep getting chances and shooting and our luck should turn.
3. Better Discipline
The Penguins game showed us that giving the other team a man advantage multiple times isn’t a good idea. Play 5 on 5, dominate and ultimately get 2 points.
Namestnikov- Stamkos- Kucherov
Palat- Point- Gourde
Killorn- Johnson- Brown
Kunitz- Paquette- Callahan
Andrei Vasilevskiy: 15-3-1 GAA: 2.31 SV%: .930 (Unconfirmed)
Jake Dotchin- ( Day to Day- undisclosed) 3 Games
The Sabres have not had the start to the season they want as they only have 6 wins as we near the end of the second month, the Sabres sit at the bottom of the league just in front of the Arizona Coyotes. Only 3 of the Sabers losses has come from goal deficits larger than 2 so they have been able to keep these games close but just can’t get that offense going. One way they can change that is by getting the puck to Evander Kane who leads the team in Goals and Points, and if the Sabres can feed off his offensive energy they just might be able to keep pace with one of the best offensives in the league. The Sabres will look to their top guys to try and turn this ship around against a tough opponent.
On an interesting side note, the Sabres may want to consider starting backup goaltender Chad Johnson as the Bolts have struggled against these goalies as of late. Johnson does already have a win on the season, but it still might give this team the best chance to win if you want to play the numbers game
Three Keys To the Game
1. Get the Puck to Kane
Evander Kane has been the Sabres best player and they need to use that to their advantage to try and get this offense back on track. The Bolts have also been leaving guys open as of late, and if Kane’s one of them then get him the puck.
2. Play Smart
This is the last team you want to give a 2 on 0 opportunities so the Sabres will need to make sure they make smart passes and lock down the front of the net.
3. Play Like Your Season Depends on It
The Sabres are one of the worst teams in the league, they need to take that and use it to come out flying and take the game early rather than letting it frustrate them.
Kane- Eichel- Reinhart
Pouliot- O’Reilly- Okposo
Nolan- Larsson- Pominville
Moulson- Girgensons- Crisculo
Robin Lehner: 5-10-2 GAA: 2.96 SV%: .905 (Unconfirmed)
REMINDER: ALL LINES MAY CHANGE BEFORE PUCK DROP