Game Preview | 5 Things to Know Ahead of Sabers Vs. Panthers

Dustin Tokarski will start in goal this afternoon against the Florida Panthers, coach Don Granato announced.

The Sabers enter the contest on an eight-game point streak (5-0-3) which continued with an emotional 4-3 win over the Predators on Friday, after Rick Jeanneret’s name was unveiled in the KeyBank Center rafters.

Coverage on MSG begins at 12:30 pm The puck drops at 1.

1. The lineup

There will be no changes to the lineup other than in goal, Granato said.

Find the full projected lineup below:

April 3 vs. Florida
53 Jeff Skinner 72 Tage Thompson 89 Alex Tuch
74 Rasmus Asplund 37 Casey Mittelstadt 71 Victor Olofsson
19 Peyton Krebs 24 Dylan Cozens 29 Vinnie Hinostroza
28 Zemgus Girgensons 20 Cody Eakin 21 Kyle Okposo
26 Rasmus Dahlin 10 Henri Jokiharju 41 Craig Anderson
2. 3 Mattias Samuelsson 45 Casey Fitzgerald 31 Dustin Tokarski
78 Jacob Bryson 13 Mark Pysyk

2. The schedule

The contest opens a stretch of six games in 10 days against four of the Eastern Conference’s best teams.

The Sabers host the Hurricanes on Tuesday, then leave for a four-game road trip that includes stops in Carolina, Florida, Tampa, and Toronto.

3. Olofsson’s hot stretch

Victor Olofsson enters the contest with five points (3 + 2) in his last three games, including the winning goal against the Predators on Friday. He and Tage Thompson lead the Sabers with eight goals each since March 1.

4. Eye on the details

Granato said the Sabers need to be hyper-focused on their details against a Panthers team that leads the NHL in goals per game (4.10) and is a constant threat in transition.

“This team takes advantage of sloppy play as good as anybody,” Granato said. “So even when you put a puck to the net, it’s not good enough to put a puck to the net. That’s a transition opportunity for them.… Good teams hold you more accountable for better detail, is the essence of it. This is one of them. “

5. Scouting the Panthers

Florida erased a 6-2 deficit in the third period on its way to a 7-6 overtime victory in New Jersey on Saturday. Jonathan Huberdeau tallied a pair of assists, extending his NHL-leading total to 73.

“They don’t need a lot to convert, so they’re dangerous,” Granato said. “Yesterday’s game is obvious. There aren’t many teams that can just turn it up in the middle of the game and come back.”

The game will mark Robert Hagg’s first return to Buffalo since the Sabers acquired a sixth-round draft pick from the Panthers in exchange for the defenseman last month. Hagg has one assist and is averaging 11:51 in six contests with the Panthers.

Spencer Knight will start in goal for Florida.


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