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2019 NHL Global Series - Sweden - Buffalo Sabres v Tampa Bay LightningPhoto by Bill Wippert/NHLI via Getty Images

Sabres look to bounce back after disappointing loss in Sweden

Game 17

Buffalo Sabres (9-5-2) vs. Tampa Bay Lightning (7-5-2)

Puck Drop: 2:00 PM EST | Ericsson Globe | Stockholm, Sweden

TV: NBCS, SN1

Radio: WGR 550

SB Nation Lightning Blog: Raw Charge

Know Your Opponent

Tampa Bay Lightning

Record: (7-5-2) | 14 PTS

Last 10: 5-4-1

Division Ranking: 6th in Atlantic Division

Conference Ranking: 11th in Eastern Conference

PP: 6th (23.1%)

PK: 27th (74.0%)

What to Watch

1. They don’t ask how

Simply put, the Buffalo Sabres need to score more goals. The team has a total of three goals in November, and while they’ve only played three games, a 1.0 goals per game average should be somewhere close to what a few of the players are scoring, rather than the team as a whole. The last time the Sabres scored more than two goals was October 22. They’ve allowed 18 goals in that time. You can’t win games without putting the puck in the net. Period.

2. Killing in the name of...

The power play has been great for Buffalo - even with their scoring woes overall, the team is converting on a pace of 25.9 percent, tied for third in the league. The penalty kill? Not so much. The Sabres are in the bottom-third, killing only 80 percent of its disadvantages. That seems like a solid number, but given that the team is struggling to score, they are in dire need of an improved kill. Yesterday afternoon’s PP tally for Tampa was the difference between one point and no points in the standings.

3. Help from my friends

It’s easy to look at a 3.00 goals against average over the last six games and throw some shade at the goaltending, but there is little question that Linus Ullmark and Carter Hutton have answered the call when they have needed to, making some spectacular saves in that time. Ullmark took the loss yesterday, but easily could have been the top star, given how well he played to try to keep his team in the game.

The Sabres’ defense, and overall defensive zone coverage, needs to tighten up. Good teams will capitalize on their opponents mistakes. Great teams will hang four goals in a period on a team, and that can’t be blamed entirely on the goalie. Buffalo has to approach their zone in a more comprehensive way, making smart plays in transition, and providing support for puck carriers to mitigate panic and turnovers.

Projected Lineup

Buffalo Sabres

Forwards

Victor Olofsson - Jack Eichel - Sam Reinhart

Jeff Skinner - Marcus Johansson - Evan Rodrigues

Conor Sheary - Casey Mittelstadt - Jimmy Vesey

Zemgus Girgensons - Johan Larsson - Kyle Okposo

Defense

Rasmus Dahlin - Brandon Montour

Jake McCabe - Rasmus Ristolainen

Henri Jokiharju - Colin Miller

Lawrence Pilut - John Gilmour

Starting Goaltender: Carter Hutton

Tampa Bay Lightning

Forwards

Alexander Volkov - Steven Stamkos - Nikita Kucherov

Ondrej Palat - Brayden Point - Tyler Johnson

Alex Killorn - Anthony Cirelli - Mathieu Joseph

Yanni Gourde - Cedric Paquette - Luke Witkowski

Defense

Ryan McDonagh - Erik Cernak

Mikhail Sergachev - Kevin Shattenkirk

Jan Rutta - Luke Schenn

Starting Goaltender: Curtis McElhiney

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