Panthers at Sabres preview
Florida has won six of eight; Buffalo playing first game without injured Olofssonby Heather Engel / NHL.com Independent Correspondent
PANTHERS (21-14-5) at SABRES (18-17-7)
1 p.m. ET; MSG-B, FS-F, NHL.TV
The Buffalo Sabres will play their first game without forward Victor Olofsson when they face the Florida Panthers at KeyBank Center on Saturday.
Olofsson, who leads NHL rookies with 16 goals and 35 points, will be out 5-6 weeks after sustaining a lower-body injury in the third period of a 3-2 overtime win against the Edmonton Oilers on Thursday.
Rasmus Asplund is expected to replace Olofsson on the top line for the Sabres, who are 1-4-0 in their past five games and 2-6-1 in their past nine.
The Panthers, who are coming off a 6-3 win against the Ottawa Senators on Thursday, have won six of their past eight games and are 9-for-29 (31 percent) on the power play during that span.
Players to watch
Panthers forward Jonathan Huberdeau has 18 points (six goals, 12 assists) in his past eight games.
Sabres forward Sam Reinhart has 19 points (nine goals, 10 assists) in 19 games against the Panthers.
They said it
"They're a team that you've got to respect. Jack Eichel's playing as good as anyone in the League right now; we've got to be aware of him. We've got to do a better job with the puck against this team. We've got to get more inside like we've talked about the last couple of games. I thought we did a better job of that [on Thursday]. We're going to need that [Saturday]." -- Panthers coach Joel Quenneville
"My philosophy is if they give you a chance, it's because you've done something good. If you start changing up what you've been doing, I just think that's the wrong thing to do. So I just tried to play my game [Thursday] with Jack [Eichel] and Sam [Reinhart]. I will try to do it [Saturday] again." -- Sabres forward Rasmus Asplund
Panthers projected lineup
Jonathan Huberdeau -- Aleksander Barkov -- Evgenii Dadonov
Brett Connolly -- Vincent Trocheck -- Noel Acciari
Frank Vatrano -- Brian Boyle -- Mike Hoffman
Colton Sceviour -- Dominic Toninato -- Mark Pysyk
Keith Yandle -- Aaron Ekblad
Riley Stillman -- Anton Stralman
Mike Matheson -- Josh Brown
Scratched: Denis Malgin, Jayce Hawryluk
Injured: MacKenzie Weegar (upper body)
Sabres projected lineup
Rasmus Asplund -- Jack Eichel -- Sam Reinhart
Jimmy Vesey -- Marcus Johansson -- Conor Sheary
Zemgus Girgensons -- Johan Larsson -- Kyle Okposo
Curtis Lazar -- Scott Wilson
Jake McCabe -- Rasmus Ristolainen
Rasmus Dahlin -- Colin Miller
Henri Jokiharju -- Brandon Montour
Scratched: Evan Rodrigues, Dalton Smith
Injured: Victor Olofsson (lower body), Jeff Skinner (upper body), Tage Thompson (upper body), Vladimir Sobotka (lower body)
Eichel did not practice Friday but coach Ralph Krueger said it was a maintenance day "due to minutes played" (23:56 against Edmonton; 25:13 against the Tampa Bay Lightning on Tuesday). … Wilson was recalled from Rochester of the American Hockey League on Friday.
Eichel has 10 points (two goals, eight assists) in his past 10 games against the Panthers, including a goal and two assists in a 5-2 win on Nov. 24. … Barkov has 20 points (eight goals, 12 assists) in 20 games against the Sabres. … Huberdeau needs one goal to pass Nathan Horton (142) for sixth in Panthers history.