The back half of the Sabres' home-and-home set with the Toronto Maple Leafs is tonight at 7 in KeyBank Center and it will mark the preseason debuts of Sam Reinhart and Zach Bogosian.
Perhaps of even more note is that winger Tage Thompson will play on back-to-back nights and get a shot playing on the top line with Jack Eichel. Thompson struggled defensively at times in Friday's 5-3 loss in Scotiabank Arena but scored a highlight-reel goal and had some other dangerous forays in the offensive zone.
"I really liked what he brought to the game last night," coach Phil Housley said today. "Some speed, tenacity on the forecheck and really used his speed in the right areas in the transition part of the game. Had some really good looks. ... He's brought a lot of great energy into our group and it's good to see him develop in the right way."
The Sabres will line up like this:
Forwards: Skinner-Eichel-Thompson; Rodrigues-Berglund-Reinhart; Bailey-Larsson-Okposo; Wilson-Criscuolo-Rendell
Defense: Scandella-Ristolainen; Dahlin-McCabe; Beaulieu-Bogosian.
Goal: Hutton, Wedgewood
They'll meet a Leafs lineup featuring Auston Matthews centering veteran Patrick Marleau and ex-Sabre Tyler Ennis.
Leaf lines this morning :
— Paul Hendrick (@HennyTweets) September 22, 2018
As for Reinhart, Housley said the team's medical staff is satisfied with his fitness level after his contract holdout.
"We're just going to throw him right into the fire," Housley said. "Let's get him an opportunity and see what he's going to do."
It will be Reinhart's first game with Berglund, acquired from St. Louis in the Ryan O'Reilly deal.
"I really like him as a player. He uses his size to his advantage," Reinhart said. "You never really know someone until you get in a game, so I'm excited about that. And [Rodrigues] I've played with a bunch and I know his skillset and speed he brings. I think we'll complement each other well."
Bogosian will be in his first game since January hip surgery. He had maintenance days earlier in the week and will be watched closely to see how the hip responds to game action.
"We're just making sure we're cautious with his injury," Housley said. "We had those two tought first days that really put a lot of stress on the hip so we're just monitoring that and it's good to see him back in the lineup. I know he's got to keep the game simple. I know he's got a lot of pride in his game."