The preseason keeps barreling along as Buffalo plays its fourth of seven exhibitions Friday night when Toronto visits KeyBank Center. The Sabres earned a 1-0 shootout victory over the Maple Leafs on Thursday in St. Catharines, Ont.
Here are five things to know heading into the rematch:
1. Dmitry Kulikov, acquired during the summer to be a top-pair defenseman, will make his Sabres debut. He arrived from the World Cup on Wednesday.
"Going out on the ice in a new uniform is going to be different," he said after the morning skate. "From the drop of the puck, everything is going to go away and I’m going to just play hockey."
Coach Dan Bylsma says Kulikov has been a fast learner during his short time in Buffalo.
"He’s a pretty smart player, pretty adept right now at asking the right questions and understanding what’s being asked of him," Bylsma said. "He may be a guy who picks it up a lot quicker than college players from Bowling Green."
Byslma played at Bowling Green and is in the school's Hall of Fame.
2. Nicholas Baptiste is getting a boost up the lineup and will skate with center Sam Reinhart and left wing Nicolas Deslauriers. Baptiste had a hat trick during the prospects tournament and followed that with a goal and assist during Tuesday's preseason game.
"He’s had a great camp," Bylsma said. "He had a great rookie tournament. He did well with his opportunity in the exhibition game here. It is an adjustment where he’s playing in the lineup tonight, so it is another opportunity with some good players to show that he can be a player in this league."
3. Justin Bailey, who skated in the preseason opener at Penn State, will get to perform in front of family and friends. The Williamsville native will skate with center Derek Grant and right wing Brian Gionta.
"It’ll be a cool one for me," Bailey said. "Obviously, I’ve been hoping for a home game."
The Sabres' other forward lines will be Zemgus Girgensons in the middle of Matt Moulson and Tyler Ennis, and Jean Dupuy centering for Evan Rodrigues and Cole Schneider.
Robin Lehner is scheduled to play the whole game in net. The six defensemen will be Kulikov, Jake McCabe, Casey Nelson, Justin Falk, Brady Austin and Mac Bennett.
4. Sabres fans may get to see old friend Jhonas Enroth in the Maple Leafs' net, but they won't see Auston Matthews. The No. 1 overall pick is not playing.
— Kevin McGran (@kevin_mcgran) September 30, 2016
Fans not heading to KeyBank Center can watch the 7 p.m. game on MSG or listen on the radio at WGR-AM 550.
5. The Sabres will have their full roster soon. Ryan O'Reilly and Canada won the World Cup on Thursday, and the center will head back to Buffalo.
"I told him he doesn’t have to be here for the 5:20 meeting tonight but the game’s at 7," Bylsma said jokingly. "I wouldn’t be surprised if Ryan showed up tonight or showed up tomorrow morning because that’s the kind of player he is, but we’ll set a time frame for him to get back into practice. He’s played quite a bit of hockey, so he’ll get a few days off here."
Defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen, who showed up without a contract Thursday, will continue to skate with the Sabres and participate in meetings while the sides negotiate.
"It shows a lot from both the player that he wants to be here and practicing with his team, and it shows a lot from us, shows a lot from Tim [Murray] that we want him here as well," Bylsma said. "The contract situation will take care of itself, but I do think it says a lot about the young man wanting to be here."