Alexander Nylander has skated with his brother, William, countless times in his life. He’s never skated against him, however.
That will change Thursday night.
Buffalo’s Alexander Nylander and Toronto’s William will be in the lineup for their respective teams when the Sabres and Maple Leafs meet in Meridian Centre in St. Catharines, Ont. (7:30 p.m., MSG, Radio WGR-AM 550).
“It’s going to be really fun,” Buffalo’s Nylander said after the morning skate in KeyBank Center. “This is exciting. This is something I’ve never done. I’ve only practiced with him or played against him in practice, and this is going to be totally different. Hopefully, we get the ‘W.’”
The Sabres’ first-round pick is still trying to gain his footing in the NHL. He played in the opening preseason game and had one shot.
“The speed of the game and the pace of the game is something that he’s learning,” coach Dan Bylsma said. “Testing-wise, he’s one of our fastest skaters, but the pace of the NHL game and the pace at which you play is something you have to learn. Even on the power play at Penn State there, he has the puck on the half wall, but the pace at which he is playing there with the puck has to increase.
“It’s new for him and he’s learning to adjust, and he’s more than capable of doing it.”
Goaltender Anders Nilsson, who stopped 26 of 27 shots in two periods of the preseason opener, is scheduled to play the whole game.
The Sabres’ lines:
Marcus Foligno-Johan Larsson-Kyle Okposo
Evander Kane-Derek Grant-Nylander
Matt Moulson-Cal O’Reilly-Hudson Fasching
William Carrier-Dan Catenacci-Cole Schneider
The six defensemen will come from the group of Josh Gorges, Zach Bogosian, Cody Franson, Brendan Guhle, Mac Bennett, Justin Falk and Erik Burgdoerfer. Jason Kasdorf will be the backup goaltender.
The Sabres and Maple Leafs close their back-to-back games Friday night in KeyBank Center.