The eyes of the nation will get a look at what all the fuss is about tonight in KeyBank Center. The Sabres' annual Thanksgiving Eve game, a 7:30 start against the Philadelphia Flyers, will go coast to coast on the NBC Sports Network. Gord Miller and Brian Boucher will be on the call.
The Sabres (13-6-2) have won six straight and are going for seven in a row for the first time since they opened the 2006-07 season with 10 straight wins. On Thanksgiving Eve last year, they suffered a 5-4 loss to Minnesota to fall to 5-13-4 with their seventh straight loss. Quite the symmetry tonight that they could win seven straight.
Here are Five Things to Know about tonight's game:
1. Lineup/injury news: Marco Scandella (lower body) and Patrik Berglund (upper body) will be out tonight. Scandella was on the ice for the morning skate but limped off early while coach Phil Housley said Berglund is being re-evaluated later today. Nathan Beaulieu will be in on defense and Evan Rodrigues is back at forward after sitting the last three games as a healthy scratch.
"At the end of the day, you've got to prepared whether you're playing or not," said Rodrigues, who is still looking for his first goal of the season. "Come prepared, come with the same work ethic and be ready when you get in."
Carter Hutton will be in goal against Philadelphia's Alex Lyon, making his first start of the season after getting called up last week from Lehigh Valley of the AHL. Hutton is 5-0, 1.99/.936 over his last five games and looking to set a career high for a winning streak. He won five in a row with Nashville in 2014.
Line rushes during the #Sabres' morning skate:
Berglund not on the ice. Beaulieu and Elie rotating in.
— Lance Lysowski (@LLysowski) November 21, 2018
2. Home cooking I: The Sabres want to serve up the turkey and stuffing tonight downtown, where they're already 6-2-1 – after going just 11-25-5 here last year.
"You look around the league at teams that have that real home-ice advantage and it's the sort of environment where you know you're in for a battle every time you go in there," said captain Jack Eichel. "We want to make this a tough place to come in and play, take a lot of pride in our game here at home and make sure that our fans appreciate our efforts every night. We've done some good things at home so far this year and it's exciting. Hopefully it's a good environment here tonight and I'm looking forward to it."
3. Home cooking II: The Sabres have already clinched their best 10-game start at home since going 7-2-1 to start the 2009-10 season. They're 4-0-1 in their last five here and looking to get points in six straight for the first time at home since a 6-0-1 run from Jan. 7-Feb. 7, 2017.
It's a long way from getting booed off the ice after the second period of the season-opening loss to Boston.
"Even though we lost our first game, I thought the guys did a terrific job facing some adversity right off the bat," Housley said. "They came back and played some really strong hockey early on."
4. Flyers update: Claude Giroux leads Philly with 24 points, including 17 assists. Giroux and Eichel are tied for 16th in the NHL in scoring while Eichel is tied for sixth in assists (19). Giroux has 25 assists and 30 points in 33 career games against Buffalo. Sean Couturier and Wayne Simmonds are tied for the team lead in goals with eight. The Flyers lead the NHL in faceoff percentage (55.2) but are just 30th in the league in penalty killing at 68.6 percent. They've given up at least one power-play goal in 15 of their 20 games, including three Saturday in their 6-5 overtime loss to Tampa Bay.
5. Surging Sabres numbers: The Sabres are 8-0-2 when scoring first, one of four teams to earn a point in every game they've opened the scoring. They're 7-0-2 when leading after the first period, one of five teams with a point in every game they've led after 20 minutes. ... The Sabres are 5-6-1 when trailing after two periods, second to Calgary's six wins when down after 40 minutes. The Sabres were 5-39-3 in those spots last season. ... The Sabres are 7-0-2 in one-goal games this season; they were 11-10-12 last year. ... The Sabres are 18 for their last 19 and 33 of 36 on the penalty kill. ... Sam Reinhart has eight points in his last eight games, including three two-point games. The Sabres are 10-0 this year when Reinhart has a point and 24-2-3 in his career when he gets at least two.