The Sabres face a Florida team that might need to win this game

April 07, 2018 - 1:39 pm

Sunrise, FL (WGR 550) - The final game of the season means nothing to the Sabres, but it could mean something to the Panthers. Florida will be eliminated from the playoffs if Philadelphia gets one point against the Rangers on Saturday, but if that doesn’t happen, the Panthers will need to win.

Florida will have to play without its best player as Aleksander Barkov is out at least two games with a shoulder injury. Barkov had 24 points in 23 games and leads the Panthers in scoring with 51 assists and 78 points.

As it usually does with a new coach, it took the Panthers a long time to get used to former Sabre Bob Boughner, but when they did, they went 23-8-2. Florida can also set a franchise record if they get their 27th home victory tonight.

Vincent Trocheck has seven points in eight games, while Evgenii Dadonov has caught fire with 26 points in 23 games.

Roberto Luongo has started three straight games including his 1,000th game. In those three wins, he only gave up five goals.

Against Buffalo, Luongo 19-8-0 with a 1.95 goals against and .934 save percentage. He has five career shutouts against the Sabres.

The Sabres scored five goals in Tampa on Friday, but still lost 7-5.

Both Alex Nylander and Casey Mittelstadt scored their first NHL goals. Mittelstadt has four points in five career games, while Nylander has two points in six career games.

Buffalo has lost four straight to Florida.

Sam Reinhart really struggled with two key turnovers that cost the Sabres two goals to the Lightning. He was on the ice for five Tampa Bay goals, but he still is on a decent streak. Reinhart has 36 points in 37 games and has 19 goals in his last 42 games.

Ryan O’Reilly has a five game point streak which has seen him score three goals and four assists for seven points. He and Reinhart were both minus four against the Lightning.

Kyle Okposo has four goals in four games.

Linus Ullmark is on the trip, but has one skate with the team since returning from a concussion.

Chad Johnson has hit the skids in his last four starts. He gave up six to the Lightning, three to Ottawa, five to Toronto and four to Nashville which was his only win.

Despite losing their last two road games, the Sabres are 14-19-8 away from the arena which is a .439 winning percentage.

Brian Koziol will have a little different pregame show. I’ll be with him at 6:00 and then you’ll hear from Phil Housley. Starting at 6:30, Brian and I will have a season in review until puck drop at 7.

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