Hey look! It's the start of another set of back-to-back games for the Buffalo Sabres. This one kicks off at 7 p.m. in KeyBank Center when they host the Detroit Red Wings. The team then plays in Montreal on Saturday night. It's the eighth of 19 sets of back-to-back games for the Sabres and the second set this week.
1. Ennis is back and Nilsson is in. Sabres coach Dan Bylsma said Ennis will be back in the lineup playing with Ryan O'Reilly and Kyle Okposo. With Ennis in the lineup Bylsma said Nicolas Deslauriers will be a healthy scratch.
Anders Nilsson will get the start in net after missing practice on Thursday with illness. "He returned to health and had three good meals throughout the day and was back to energy so just seeing him this morning and with the back-to-back Anders is going today."
That means Linus Ullmark, who was at the morning skate along with Nilsson and Robin Lehner, will be returned to Rochester.
2. The Sabres are looking for consistent defense. Bylsma has seen good things from his six-man defensive unit but wants to see it happen throughout the game rather than in spurts.
"When we’re playing well our defense does a good job breaking the puck out, going back for pucks and moving the puck out of trouble," Bylsma said. "The key to not playing in the D zone is moving it out of there as quickly as possible, getting the puck stopped and out of there. That’s one area where when we’re playing well, when we’re playing good defensively, when those six are playing well together, that’s what they’re doing well. When we’re not, it leads to some of those defensive struggles and positioning situations. The consistency of that through a full 60 minutes is I think where we struggle."
3. Evander Kane is scoring a lot. Kane has 12 goals in his last 21 games, including a team-high 11 even-strength goals. Since scoring his first goal on Dec. 3 against Boston, Kane has not gone three straight games without scoring a goal.
4. It's a night of milestones. Assuming they dress in tonight's game, Matt Moulson will play in his 600th NHL game and Justin Falk his 200th.
"I don’t think I even realized it until my wife told me the other day," Moulson said. "I think we’re very fortunate to be able to play in the NHL for a living. It’s something you grow up dreaming of and I don’t think you really appreciate it I guess until you’re a little older."
5. Detroit is on a win streak. The Red Wings are on a three-game win streak, beating Boston on Wednesday in a shootout after recording wins against Pittsburgh and Montreal. Former Sabre Thomas Vanek is also on a seven-game point streak with five goals and five assists in that span.