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game preview

Panthers at Sabres preview

Florida's Luongo tries for sole possession of fourth in NHL history in wins; Buffalo has Beaulieu back in lineup

by Joe Yerdon / NHL.com Correspondent

PANTHERS (4-8-2) at SABRES (5-8-2)

7 p.m. ET; MSG-B, FS-F, NHL.TV

 

The Game

Roberto Luongo will look to pass Curtis Joseph (454) for sole possession of fourth in NHL history in wins when the Florida Panthers play the Buffalo Sabres at KeyBank Center on Friday.

In 29 games against the Sabres, Luongo is 18-8-2 with a .933 save percentage and five shutouts.

The Panthers have lost five straight games (0-3-2) and are 2-7-2 in their past 11. They will have defenseman Mike Matheson back in the lineup after he missed a 3-1 loss to the Carolina Hurricanes on Tuesday because of an upper-body injury.

The Sabres are 4-3-0 in their past seven games after a 1-5-2 start and are trying to win consecutive games for the second time this season. They will get defenseman Nathan Beaulieu back in the lineup after he missed the past seven games because of an upper-body injury.

 

Players to watch

Panthers center Vincent Trocheck has nine points (four goals, five assists) in the past six games and has scored a goal in three straight games.

Sabres center Ryan O'Reilly has five points (two goals, three assists) in the past four games.

 

They said it

"Even though we're going through a struggle a little bit right now, we're still trying to draw on the positives. You can't control what's happened. Obviously you can learn from [that] and that's what we're trying to do every day and we're trying to get better every day and that's sort of what the state of our game is right now." -- Panthers coach Bob Boughner

"I feel we all knew as the season went on we were better than our record has been showing. I think things are starting to click and the hockey gods are a little more on our side than they were at the beginning." -- Sabres defenseman Nathan Beaulieu on the team's 2-1-0 record in the past three home games

 

Panthers projected lineup

Jonathan Huberdeau -- Aleksander Barkov -- Evgenii Dadonov

Connor Brickley -- Vincent Trocheck -- Radim Vrbata

Jamie McGinn -- Nick Bjugstad -- Colton Sceviour

Dryden Hunt -- Derek MacKenzie -- Micheal Haley

Keith Yandle -- Aaron Ekblad

Mike Matheson -- Mark Pysyk

Ian McCoshen -- MacKenzie Weegar

Roberto Luongo

James Reimer

Scratched: Alex Petrovic, Antti Niemi

Injured: Jared McCann (lower body)

 

Sabres projected lineup

Evander Kane -- Jack Eichel -- Jason Pominville

Benoit Pouliot -- Ryan O'Reilly -- Kyle Okposo

Seth Griffith -- Sam Reinhart -- Nicholas Baptiste

Jordan Nolan -- Johan Larsson -- Zemgus Girgensons

Marco Scandella -- Justin Falk

Jake McCabe -- Taylor Fedun

Nathan Beaulieu -- Victor Antipin

Robin Lehner

Chad Johnson

Scratched: Matt Moulson

Injured: Matt Tennyson (ankle), Rasmus Ristolainen (upper body), Justin Bailey (lower body), Josh Gorges (lower body), Jacob Josefson (lower body), Zach Bogosian (lower body), Evan Rodrigues (hand)

 

Status report

Hunt will make his NHL debut for the Panthers. He was signed as an undrafted free agent March 2, 2016. … Gorges has practiced each day since Tuesday and is ready to return but will not play.

 

Stat pack

The Panthers have lost two straight games in Buffalo (0-2-0). … Kane leads the Sabres with nine goals, including three in his past three games.

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