Here is everything you need to know ahead of tonight’s Tampa Bay Lightning game against the Buffalo Sabres. Tonight’s game was initially scheduled to be the second game of a back-to-back prior to Monday’s contest in New Jersey against the Devils being postponed. Traveling changes on short notice were a bit of a scramble for the club but the team has had plenty of time in Buffalo to prepare for tonight.
1. Andrei Vasilevskiy will start in net. Brian Elliot would have likely gotten the start in this one if it was the second game of the back-to-back. This will be Vasilevskiy’s first start against Buffalo this season after Elliot got the start when the teams first met back in October.
2. Zach Bogosian is expected to return to the lineup after missing the last five games with an upper body injury. Bogosian’s return will mark his first game against the Sabres since having his contract terminated by Buffalo in February of 2020. Bogosian would sign with Tampa two days later and go on to win the Stanley Cup.
3. Ross Colton and Ryan McDonagh will be game time decisions. Colton has been cleared from the NHL’s COVID protocols after missing the last three games. Jon Cooper explained that Colton’s return is more likely than Ryan McDonagh who has been dealing with a lower body injury. McDonagh seems unlikely to play and will be a game time decision after McDonagh blocked a shot last Thursday against Calgary. McDonagh did not play Saturday against Boston.
4. This will be Buffalo’s first game since last Thursday, a 3-2 loss at home to the San Jose Sharks. Buffalo’s Saturday game in Montreal was postponed. Tampa Bay cannot look past the Sabres despite their third to last spot in the Eastern Conference. Buffalo took it to the Lightning back in October, defeating Tampa Bay 5-1 with Brian Elliot in net.
5. Jack Quinn will make his NHL debut tonight against the Lightning. Buffalo’s eighth overall pick in the 2020 draft is expected to make his NHL debut after being called up on Sunday. The 20-year-old winger has 26 points in 20 games played this season in the American Hockey League with the Rochester Americans.