SABRES (14-30-3) at FLAMES (25-19-3)
TV: MSG-B, BELL TV, SNW
Season series: Buffalo Sabres forward Matt Moulson scored two goals, including the game-winner, in their only previous game this season against the Calgary Flames, a 4-3 Sabres win on Dec. 11, 2014 at First Niagara Center.
Sabres team scope: The Sabres ended the first half of the season by losing 11 games in a row, and Buffalo is already facing new obstacles before the first puck has been dropped in the second half. Goalie Michal Neuvirth is out after sustaining a lower-body injury while working out during the All-Star break. Matt Hackett has been recalled from Rochester of the American Hockey League as a result. The Sabres will also be without young defenceman Nikita Zadorov, whom Buffalo suspended after failing to report on time following the break. "When you're a 19-year-old kid, sometimes if you're not instructed to do things, you know how kids can be sometimes," Sabres coach Ted Nolan said Monday. "This will be a big, big learning curve for him." Zadorov is expected to return to the Sabres at some point during their current road trip.
Flames team scope: Calgary is currently in Stanley Cup Playoff position with a one-point edge on the Los Angeles Kings for the West's second wild-card spot. The Flames will have the chance to pad their slim lead; they open the second half with a six-game homestand, the first three games of which all come against opponents outside of the playoff field. Calgary will have to contend with injuries, however; forward Curtis Glencross (lower-body injury) and defenceman Ladislav Smid (upper-body injury) remain out. To help fill the void, the Flames on Monday recalled forward Sven Baertschi, the 13th player chosen at the 2011 NHL Draft, forward David Wolf and defenceman Tyler Wotherspoon.