If a lack of experience played any role in Buffalo's 6-3 loss to open the Prospects Challenge on Saturday, the reinforcements coming for Monday's game should be a fine remedy. Justin Bailey and William Carrier, both scratches in that first game, will be linemates when the Sabres play the Bruins.
The advantage Bailey and Carrier bring to the table is two-fold. Their veteran status among their fellow prospects should allow them to lead by example and elevate the games of the younger junior players, while their chemistry together will put them in a position to have some success of their own as well.
"I think any time you have more veteran guys doing the right things, doing things properly out on the ice, I think that helps set the precedent for the younger guys who may be nervous, may be a little bit jittery, trying to do a little too much," Bailey said. "If they see us playing simple and doing the right things they'll be able to feed off of that."
Video: Preview: BOS at BUF (9/19/16)
Bailey and Carrier were teammates in Rochester last season, and both enjoyed their greatest success as linemates in the second half of the season. Their similar styles are the glue that holds them together; both are fast in transition off of turnovers and both enjoy being the first one in on the forecheck. Once one uses their size to retrieve the puck, he knows where to look.
"He finds me, I find him, and we have a pretty good chemistry together," Bailey said.
The success they had together last season has translated into a confidence that both players have brought with them to cam. Carrier scored 30 points (13+17) in his second AHL season despite being limited to 56 games, while Bailey scored 45 points (20+25) as a rookie while also managing to impress in eight games with Buffalo.
"I think right now I have a lot of confidence," Carrier said. "Me and Bails had a good push in January and just kept going with that confidence and running with it."
While both players are likely to see preseason action with Buffalo, their first opportunity to impress Sabres brass comes on Monday against the Bruins. Boston put forth a convincing effort in their Prospects Challenge opener against New Jersey, outshooting the Devils 39-25 on their way to a 4-3 victory.
Puck drop at HarborCenter on Monday is set for 7 p.m. Tickets can be purchased for $10, or the game can be heard live on ESPN 1520.
48 William Carrier - 75 Matthew Lane - 56 Justin Bailey
52 Hudson Fasching - 70 Alexander Nylander - 73 Nicholas Baptiste
71 Evan Rodrigues - 59 Cliff Pu - 86 Eric Cornel
72 Jean Dupuy - 74 Vaclav Karabacek - 85 Daniel Muzito-Bagenda
45 Brendan Guhle - 53 Devante Stephens
54 Brycen Martin - 64 Paul Geiger
51 Austin Osmanski - 79 Vojtech Budik
33 Jason Kasdorf
35 Linus Ullmark