The Buffalo Sabres are looking for a way out of a five-game winless streak when they host the Tampa Bay Lightning at 7 p.m. in KeyBank Center. The Lightning are tied for second in the Atlantic Division with 21 points (10-6-1) and are on a two-game win streak. Five things you need to know for tonight's game:
1. Taylor Fedun will see time on the power play. Fedun was recalled from Rochester and will play the point on the Sabres' second power-play unit. He earned his call-up in part because of his success on the power play with the Amerks. Fedun is tied for second among AHL defensmen in assists with 10 and tied for fourth in points.
"I think that's definitely an area where I can chip in and hopefully our second unit can get some good looks tonight," Fedun said of getting power play time in his first stint with the Sabres.
Fedun will be paired with Justin Falk. The two were paired together in Rochester to star the season and that gives Fedun an immediate comfort level.
"He really calms things down back there," Fedun said of Falk. "He’s been solid and nice to play with. It allows me to try and do a little more offensively knowing he’s a rock back there."
2. Speaking of doing more offensively. The Sabres offensive struggles include no goals for defensemen and the blueliners know they need to find ways to contribute on offense.
"It’s hard to score at this level in today’s game," Sabres defenseman Josh Gorges said. "It’s hard to score five-on-five and if we’re not active, if we’re not joining rushes and being involved in the offense or the offensive zone off the rush, we’re putting out forwards in a tough position.
"If anything, I think we just have to be there, be the fourth guy on the attack, try to draw some attention, create some confusion. Then when we get pucks, I don’t think we have to do anything spectacular or crazy, we just have to get pucks to the net. We have to give our forwards opportunities to get those second chances. And if we do those simple things at least we can help our guys out."
3. Speaking of Josh Gorges. The 32-year old will play in his 700th regular-season NHL game. Gorges made his NHL debut with the San Jose Sharks in the second game of the 2006-07 season. He has 16 goals and 100 assists in his first 699 games.
"You try to think back to when it all started and it doesn’t seem like it was that long ago," Gorges said. "It doesn’t. It seems, maybe not quite like just yesterday but not far off. It goes quick. It’s amazing. I don’t know how to put it into words. You get to this point and you get opportunities throughout the course of your year and you realize there’s not a lot of time left for the opportunity to win and be successful. The window closes every year and doesn’t take long. It’s an eye-opener.
4. Tampa Bay has had success in Buffalo. The Lightning went 3-1-0 against the Sabres last year and are 7-1-1 in Buffalo over the last five seasons. Tampa Bay has not lost to Buffalo in regulation since a 3-1 Sabres win on April 14, 2013. Goalie Ben Bishop has never lost in regulation to Buffalo, going 8-0-1 in nine games with one shutout, a 1.63 goals-against average and a .938 save percentage.
5. The Sabres are still looking for line combinations. With no Ryan O'Reilly the Sabres used the following line combinations at the morning skate:
Evander Kane-Sam Reinhart-Kyle Okposo
Marcus Foligno-Johan Larsson-Brian Gionta
Evan Rodrigues-Zemgus Girgensons-Matt Moulson
William Carrier-Derek Grant-Nicholas Baptiste