The Ducks could very well shuffle the deck with the forward groupings tonight at Buffalo in hopes it sparks some much-needed offense. Anaheim has lost all three games so far on this road trip, scoring just four goals total. Based off line rushes, we could see Antoine Vermette on left wing with Ryan Getzlaf and Jakob Silfverberg, Logan Shaw with Andrew Cogliano and Ryan Kesler, Corey Perry with Nick Ritchie and Rickard Rakell, and Ondrej Kase with Nate Thompson and Jared Boll.
Sami Vatanen is expected to miss his third consecutive game tonight, so defense pairings will likely remain unchanged. In other words, rookie Brandon Montour will take Vatanen's spot in the lineup and skate alongside Cam Fowler. John Gibson will get the start for the Ducks while the Sabres are countering with Robin Lehner.
Ducks head coach Randy Carlyle was not available to speak with the media following the skate because of illness, so assistant coach Paul MacLean filled in, and shed some light on the new-look line combinations.
"It'll be interesting to see what Silfverberg can do with Getzlaf," said MacLean. "Rakell and Perry have had some time together in the past. We know Cogliano and Kesler have been able to play well together. We're looking to generate more offense but not sacrifice the defensive part of our game."
Sabres forward Evander Kane didn't take line rushes this morning and is considered a game-time decision after crashing hard into the endboards following his overtime game-winning goal in Buffalo's 5-4 victory against the San Jose Sharks on Tuesday. The 25-year-old left wing has scored each of his 16 goals this season in his last 30 games, including a team-best 14 at even strength. Despite not taking part in the morning skate, Kane says he feels good to go.
"It's tough. It's an important time of the year and I want to be out there as much as anybody," he said, in a story posted on BuffaloSabres.com earlier today. "For me, I felt good this morning, feel I can contribute tonight hopefully. I'm just looking forward to another big game."
The Sabres will be without the services of center Zemgus Girgensons, who is considered day-to-day with what head coach Dan Bylsma describes as a "mid-body injury." The Sabres recalled forwards Derek Grant and Evan Rodrigues and both could play tonight.
Potential Line Combinations