It was just Saturday when at the Carolina Hurricanes and Buffalo Sabres last met. They'll go at it again at 7 p.m. Thursday in KeyBank Center. In that last meeting, the Sabres got a late goal from Evander Kane to send the game into overtime. Carolina won that game, 2-1, in a shootout.
What do you need to know for tonight's tilt? Here's five things to ponder:
1. The Sabres are looking for a good start. Buffalo has gone into a 1-0 hole after 20 minutes in each of its last four games while being outshot by a combined 25-29.
"My words to the players is we need to be more emotionally attached to the game right from the start," Sabres coach Dan Bylsma said Thursday morning in KeyBank Center.
"We've responded in virtually every one of our games in the last 10. There's some point in the game where we go down or something happens in the game where we respond. ... We get desperate. We get emotionally attached to the game in the second period and we come with a lot after that point. Our challenge is we've got to get emotionally attached to the game right from the drop of the puck."
2. Robin Lehner will start for the Sabres. Take away the shootouts and Lehner has kept the Sabres in games. He made 39 saves in 65 minutes Tuesday in Florida and had back-to-back wins against the L.A. Kings and New York Islanders. Bylsma said the rest of the lineup will be a game-time decision but William Carrier and Justin Falk were doing extra work with assistant coaches at the end of morning skate. So it's a strong bet they will be scratched.
3. Look for more opportunities for Marcus Foligno. The forward has been impressing Bylsma, moving up to play on scoring lines and possibly getting some power-play time in front of the net. He's earned that, Bylsma said, and part of that came from the fight with Shawn Thornton in the Sabres last game which gave a bump to the team and to Foligno.
"We had just gotten two goals. I think there was no mistaking what Thorton was doing coming on the ice and coming to the net there," Bylsma said. "He was trying to spark his team is what he was doing. That's a big man and tough guy to have to deal with and Marcus, I thought, did a great job in the fight and stood up for us and his teammates and did a great job. I thought it was a huge spark for our team and a huge spark to Marcus' game.
"That's the way Marcus has got to play. He's got to be a big, strong, physical guy for us and he should be a force to reckon with and he proved it, not so much with the hair thing, but with the fight.
4. So what about that hair flip? The fight went viral on social media because cameras caught Foligno running his hands through his hair before going back at Thornton.
Had he done that hair flip before?
"Just when I’m trying to style it in the mirror," Foligno joked.
"Maybe it's a habit that I have," he said. "I was just trying to get it out of my eyesight and get going again."
His brother, Nick, got into the social media chirping as well.
Some things you just have to shake your head at as an older brother! 😂 Glad he got the take down! #"pretty"tough https://t.co/bslEVoeyc0
— Nick Foligno (@NickFoligno) December 21, 2016
5. Several Sabres are on hot streaks. Rasmus Ristonlainen has 15 points in his last 14 games, including 14 points in his last nine. He entered Wednesday tied for 12th among all NHL skaters with 20 assists. That means he has recorded an assist on 31.3 percent of his teammates' goals.
Also on a roll offensively for Buffalo are Kyle Okposo (12 points in his last 13 games), Ryan O'Reilly (nine points in his last 10 games) and Evander Kane (nine points in his last 10 games).