The Wednesday before Thanksgiving is traditionally a night for reunions, for old friends and classmates to get together and reminiscence. There's a little bit of that vibe in KeyBank Center as the Buffalo Sabres host the Minnesota Wild at 7 p.m. It's the first meeting of the season between the teams and the first time players from a major trade will face their former teams.
Here's what you need to know for Wednesday night's game:
1. Old home week. Marcus Foligno and Tyler Ennis make their first trip to the visitor's dressing room in KeyBank Center as members of the Wild. They were traded for Jason Pominville and Marco Scandella over the summer.
Foligno was a fourth-round pick by the Sabres in 2009 and had 116 points (49 goals, 67 assists) in 345 games for Buffalo. He has three goals and four assists in 19 games with the Wild. Ennis was a first-round pick by the Sabres in 2008 and scored 97 goals with 139 assists in 419 games with Buffalo. He has three goals and two assists in 20 games.
For the Sabres, Pominville is fourth on the team in scoring with 13 points (six goals, seven assists) while Scandella has been the ironman of the defense, logging an average 23 minutes 43 seconds per game. That's second only to Rasmus Ristolainen, who was logging 27:09 before he went on the injured reserve Nov. 4.
2. The Sabres are looking to end a woeful winless streak. Buffalo has lost its last three games and is 0-4-2 in its last six games. Minnesota meanwhile has lost its last two and comes to Buffalo after a 4-3 overtime loss to the New Jersey Devils. The Wild are tied for last place in the Central Division but have scored 59 goals this season and are a plus-4 when it comes to goal differential. The Sabres have scored a league-low 48 goals and have a minus-26 goal differential.
3. Josefson returns to the lineup. Sabres coach Phil Housley said forward Jacob Josefson will be back in the lineup after missing 15 games with an ankle injury. Meanwhile defensmen Rasmus Ristolainen and Zach Bogosian skated with the team for the first time as a handful of Sabres went through a light morning practice. Bogosian has been injured since the final game of the preseason with a lower body injury and has missed all 21 games. Ristolainen has missed eight games with an upper body injury. Both are close to returning but there is no timetable.
"I think if they're ready, they're ready," Housley said Wednesday morning. "We have no time to wait, obviously. We haven't had our full six, so to speak, since Day 1. The great thing is these guys are getting close. We want to be smart about it, too, because we don't want to have any negative set back."
4. Some Sabres starting to produce. So the results remain a bit, well, dismal, but there are some bright spots for the Sabres. Evander Kane has 12 goals in his first 21 games, tying him for fifth in the lead. Eight of those have come at even strength and three were shorthanded. Meanwhile Ryan O'Reilly is on a three-game point streak and has eight points in nine games in November.
5. The Winter Classic Jerseys are out. The Buffalo Sabres unveiled their jerseys for the 2018 Winter Classic. Featuring elements of the early years of the franchise, the jersey is primarily white with blue and gold accents. The letters "NY" have been added as a nod to the intrastate matchup with the Rangers.
The NHL Winter Classic Jersey will be available for purchase at the Sabres Store beginning at 5 p.m.