Buffalo Sabres forward Sam Reinhart makes his First Niagara Center debut Tuesday, and the second pick of the 2014 NHL Draft couldn't be more thrilled.
SABRES 30 IN 15 STORIES
Reinhart played his first NHL preseason game Sunday as the Sabres lost 1-0 to the Washington Capitals. He saw nearly 17 minutes of ice time and won 60 percent of his faceoffs. He had one hit, one blocked shot and one takeaway. Reinhart did not record a shot on goal and was on the ice for the only goal of the game, scored by the Capitals' Andre Burakovsky.
"I felt more comfortable as the last game went on, and I'm really excited for [Tuesday]," Reinhart said.
He's not the only new face on the Sabres feeling some butterflies. Coach Ted Nolan announced 2014 second-round pick (No. 31) Brendan Lemieux and free-agent signings Brian Gionta and Josh Gorges also would play Tuesday against the visiting Carolina Hurricanes. Nolan said Gionta, Gorges and Matt Moulson will be the alternate captains for the game. The Sabres have not had a captain since Steve Ott was traded to the St. Louis Blues in February.
"Really excited to get into the lineup tonight," Lemieux said. "Lucky to be here and get this opportunity."
Gionta and Gorges, each coming off long stints with the Montreal Canadiens, can provide the type of presence in a preseason game to help young players like Reinhart and Lemieux along as they find their legs in the NHL.
"I've been learning a lot from the veterans, trying to soak it all in," Reinhart said.