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GAME THREAD 7/82: Buffalo Sabres at Vegas Golden Knights

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The Golden Knights return home after a five-game road trip to square off against the Sabres.

NHL: Vegas Golden Knights at Buffalo Sabres Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports

The Golden Knights are coming off an impressive 1-0 victory against the Philadelphia Flyers in which Marc-Andre Fleury made 26 saves, several of which were spectacular.

Like with Philadelphia, the Knights have a chance to split the season series against the Sabres tonight after suffering a 4-2 loss Oct. 8.

Yesterday’s surprising news about the severity of Paul Stastny’s lower-body injury will have Erik Haula officially step in as the team’s second-line center. Haula’s only point of the season (a goal) came against the Sabres, so he will be looked to for offensive support for a Knights team struggling to score. Cody Eakin has provided an unexpected spark, scoring two goals in three games since returning to the lineup. Though he’s primarily a defensive forward, the Knights will take offense wherever they can get it.

The Knights will also look to score the team’s first power-play goal of the season. Vegas joins Florida and Los Angeles as the only teams with a zero percent conversion rate on the man advantage.

When these teams met in Buffalo a little over a week ago, Sabres captain Jack Eichel scored two goals, including a first-period power-play marker. The Knights will need to come up with a better answer to slow down Buffalo’s franchise star.

That will be a little more difficult since Deryk Engelland will miss tonight’s game after suffering an undisclosed injury against the Flyers. Brad Hunt will step into the lineup in his stead, though Nick Holden will skate with Shea Theodore on the team’s second pairing.

Tomas Hyka will skate with Haula and Max Pacioretty on the second line, an opportunity he does not want to squander.

That means Tomas Nosek will start the game on the third line with Eakin and Ryan Carpenter.

Oh, and Flower will be rocking these new pads tonight:

Here are the projected lineups for both teams:

Golden Knights

Marchessault — Karlsson — Smith
Pacioretty — Haula — Hyka
Nosek — Eakin — Carpenter
Carrier — Bellemare — Reaves

Miller — McNabb
Theodore — Holden
Merrill — Hunt

Fleury
Subban

Sabres

Sheary (#43) — Eichel (#9) — Reinhart (#23)
Skinner (#53) — Mittelstadt (#37) — Okposo (#21)
Sobotka (#17) — Berglund (#10) — Thompson (#72)
Girgensons (#28) — Rodrigues (#71) — Pominville (#29)

Scandella (#6) — Ristolainen (#55)
McCabe (#19) — Dahlin (#26)
Bogosian (#47) — Beaulieu (#82)

Hutton (#40)
Ullmark (#35)

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