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Panthers at Sabres preview

Buffalo's Dahlin can equal NHL season-opening point streak by teenage defenseman; Bobrovsky to start for Florida

by Heather Engel / NHL.com Independent Correspondent

PANTHERS (1-2-0) at SABRES (3-0-1)

7 p.m. ET; ESPN+, SN1, MSG-B, FS-F, NHL.TV 

 

The Game

Rasmus Dahlin can tie the NHL record for longest season-opening point streak by a teenage defenseman when the Buffalo Sabres host the Florida Panthers at KeyBank Center on Friday.

The 19-year-old has seven points (one goal, six assists) through four games; a point against the Panthers will match the five-game streak held by Larry Murphy (1980-81) and Drew Doughty (2009-10), each with the Los Angeles Kings.

The Sabres can open a season with points in five straight games for the first time since 2009-10, when they began 4-0-1.

The Panthers are looking to rebound after a 6-3 loss to the Carolina Hurricanes on Tuesday. Goalie Sergei Bobrovsky is expected to get the start after allowing four goals on 14 shots and being pulled following the first period against the Hurricanes.

 

Players to watch

Panthers forward Mike Hoffman has six points (four goals, two assists) in four games and is the only Florida player with more than one goal. 

Sabres forward Sam Reinhart has 18 points (nine goals, nine assists) in 17 games against the Panthers. His career output of 1.06 points per game against Florida is his best against any NHL team.

 

They said it

"I think [Hoffman has] gotten off to a real good start and trying to move it around, get a little bit of balance. [Forward] Frank [Vatrano] moving up with [center Vincent Trocheck], too; I think we can get something going on all the lines is kind of what we're looking at coming in. … There's some offense on all the groups." -- Panthers coach Joel Quenneville on changing line combinations

"He is so coachable and he wants to be the best possible player in this League that he can be. He's listening. The important thing is that we find the balance so that his offensive creativity is always evident in our 5-on-5 and our power play." -- Sabres coach Ralph Krueger on defenseman Rasmus Dahlin

 

Panthers projected lineup

Jonathan Huberdeau -- Aleksander Barkov -- Mike Hoffman

Frank Vatrano -- Vincent Trocheck -- Brett Connolly

Jayce Hawryluk -- Denis Malgin -- Evgenii Dadonov

Dryden Hunt -- Noel Acciari -- Colton Sceviour

MacKenzie Weegar -- Aaron Ekblad

Mike Matheson -- Anton Stralman

Keith Yandle -- Josh Brown

Sergei Bobrovsky

Sam Montembeault

Scratched: Mark Pysyk, Henrik Borgstrom

Injured: None

 

Sabres projected lineup

Victor Olofsson -- Jack Eichel -- Sam Reinhart

Jeff Skinner -- Marcus Johansson -- Vladimir Sobotka

Jimmy Vesey -- Casey Mittelstadt -- Evan Rodrigues

Zemgus Girgensons -- Johan Larsson -- Kyle Okposo

Rasmus Dahlin -- Colin Miller

Jake McCabe -- Rasmus Ristolainen

Marco Scandella -- Henri Jokiharju

Linus Ullmark

Carter Hutton

Scratched: John Gilmour

Injured: Conor Sheary (upper body), Brandon Montour (hand), Zach Bogosian (hip)

 

Status report

The Sabres will use the same forwards and defensemen as Wednesday; the only change is Ullmark getting the start. 

 

Stat pack

Huberdeau will play in his 471st regular season game with the Panthers, tying him with Jay Bouwmeester for ninth place in Florida history. … The Sabres have scored multiple power-play goals in three straight games for the first time since March 4-7, 2009. … The Olofsson-Eichel-Reinhart line has combined for 17 points (nine goals, eight assists) in four games. … Skinner is one assist from 200 in the NHL.

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