The Sabres have already clinched their best October since 2011 and they close the month tonight with a visit from the Calgary Flames to KeyBank Center. The vitals are standard: Faceoff shortly after 7, with the game on MSG and WGR Radio 550.
A win tonight gives the Sabres (6-4-1) their best October since they went 8-2-1 in 2009, en route to a Northeast Division championship.
Here are Five (More) Things to Know about tonight's game:
1. No #OneBuffalo issues on offense: The Bills continue to find scoring almost impossible, but that's not an issue with Terry Pegula's other team. The Sabres have scored at least four goals for four straight games (collecting 17 in them). If they hit 4+ tonight, it would be their first five-game run since Feb. 20-March 2, 2007. Jeff Skinner is leading the way with nine points in the last four games (5-4-9). All six of his goals have been at even-strength, leaving him tied for sixth in the NHL in 5-on-5 scoring.
2. Also hot for Sabres: Jack Eichel has 11 points in his last 10 games (3-8) and seven assists in his last eight, even though he's tied his career high with eight straight games without a goal. ... Kyle Okposo is on his first three-game goal streak since January, 2014 and is trying for his first four-gamer since March 2012. ... Jason Pominville is on a four-game point streak (4-4-8) and is playing career game No. 999 tonight.
3. In the lineup: Carter Hutton starts in goal for Buffalo while the scratches will be Evan Rodrigues and Remi Elie (healthy) and Jake McCabe (day to day/upper body).
Coach Phil Housley said McCabe will be a game-time decision but Rasmus Dahlin said he's looking forward to playing with Rasmus Ristolainen and Nathan Beaulieu is excited about getting back into the lineup. Those signs point to McCabe being out.
So #Sabres are running:
D pairs Dahlin-Ristolainen, Bogosian-Scandella, Beaulieu-Nelson....
— Mike Harrington (@ByMHarrington) October 30, 2018
4. Backup brigade: For the fourth straight game, the Sabres are going to see a backup goalie, as the Flames are expected to start David Rittich tonight. He's 2-1, 2.37/.933 in five games and has better numbers than starter Mike Smith (4-4-1, 3.55/.878), who stopped 24 of 25 shots in Monday's 3-1 win in Toronto.
The Sabres are 2-0-1 against the backups and the list reads like this: Ryan Miller (Anaheim), Antti Niemi (Montreal) and Joonas Korpisalo (Columbus). Korpisalo and Rittich both have better numbers than their starter.
5. Reunion night: The Carolina Hurricanes did some housecleaning over the summer and it will result in a reunion on the ice tonight with a Calgary team that's 6-5-1 and coming off a solid effort in Toronto. Skinner was sent to Buffalo while center Elias Lindholm and defenseman Noah Hanifin, a close friend of Eichel's, were sent to Calgary in a five-player deal that notably brought blueliner Dougie Hamilton back to the Canes. Lindholm leads the team with eight goals and is the first Calgary player with eight in the first 12 games since Jarome Iginla and Daymond Langkow each did it in 2007.
Hanifin, meanwhile, is averaging more than 20 minutes on defense.
"I don't really have that many moves for him to remember," Skinner joked today. "He's a good defenseman, plays physical and is obviously someone you're going to be aware of as a guy who will jump into the rush. For our end, we have to be aware of him."