Buffalo Sabres: Homestand ends with matchup against Colorado

BUFFALO, NY - OCTOBER 8: Jack Eichel #9 of the Buffalo Sabres celebrates his first period goal against the Vegas Golden Knights during an NHL game on October 8, 2018 at KeyBank Center in Buffalo, New York. (Photo by Bill Wippert/NHLI via Getty Images)
BUFFALO, NY - OCTOBER 8: Jack Eichel #9 of the Buffalo Sabres celebrates his first period goal against the Vegas Golden Knights during an NHL game on October 8, 2018 at KeyBank Center in Buffalo, New York. (Photo by Bill Wippert/NHLI via Getty Images) /
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The Buffalo Sabres wrap up their season opening four game homestand as they welcome the Colorado Avalanche.

Winning 2 of the first 3 games is not a bad spot to be in for the Buffalo Sabres. The Sabres have stumbled out of the gates each of the last 7 seasons and that’s how it looked like this year might start after a 4-0 dismantling at the hands of the Boston Bruins in the first game of the season last Thursday.

The Sabres were able to put that loss in their rear view mirror as they bounced back with solid victories over the New York Rangers and Vegas Golden Knights.

The big news heading into tonight’s game Johan Larsson, out with a foot injury since September 27th, will be back in the lineup tonight. Larsson will replace Remi Elie and join Casey Mittelstadt and Tage Thompson on the third line. Head coach Phil Housley commented on Larsson’s return this morning:

"“He’s worked his way back into the lineup. We want to give him a game. Hopefully he can contribute offensively as well.” – Phil Housley"

Johan Larsson’s defensive game will be a strong asset, especially teamed up up with his young linemates Mittelstadt and Thompson.

"“It definitely helps me out a lot. If he’s back first, he can go low and I can cover his spot on the wing. He’s a good faceoff guy, too, so that helps me as well. So, I think, overall, he’ll help me a lot.” – Casey Mittelstadt"

The rest of the lineup will remain the same as the last 2 games for the Sabres. Zach Bogosian and Vladimir Sobotka, also nursing injuries, have resumed practicing with the club but will remain out of action tonight. The oft-injured Bogosian has yet to see the ice this season for the Sabres.

Carter Hutton will be in net again for the Buffalo Sabres. Hutton has started all 4 games for the Sabres this season and has played very well in his career against the Avalanche. His career record against the Avalanche is 5-1 including winning all 3 starts against the Avalanche last season. This season Hutton is among the leaders in the NHL in virtually every goaltending statistical category.

The Sabres are of course led by Captain Jack Eichel. Eichel has 3 goals through 3 games and leads all Sabres forwards in time on the ice and he has been the catalyst behind the Sabres superb power play that is 6th in the league at 38%.

Tonight will also feature a milestone as Jason Pominville will appear in 664th game as a Buffalo Sabre, tying him with Mike Foligno and Ric Seiling for 10th on the all time list. Pominville has a goal in 3 games this season, primarily playing on the 4th line with Evan Rodrigues and Zemgus Girgensons.

The Colorado Avalanche come in to Buffalo with a 2-1 record. Semyon Varlamov will be back in net for the Avalanche as Philipp Grubauer started in the 5-2 loss to Columbus on Tuesday.

Nathan MacKinnon continues to lead the Avalanche. The first overall pick in the 2013 NHL draft, 2014 Calder Trophy winner, and 2018 Hart Trophy finalist already has 3 goals and a assist this season. Just like Jack Eichel for the Sabres, MacKinnon leads his team in points and time on the ice for forwards.

After tonight’s game the Buffalo Sabres hit the road for a 5 game west coast road trip to Las Vegas, Arizona, and California. Tonight’s game can be seen on MSG and heard on WGR 550.

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What are you looking forward to in tonight’s game? Let us know in the comment section below.