The Buffalo Sabres are entering Game 2 of the preseason tonight with a few intriguing players in the lineup, along with many familiar faces.
Now that we know how the Buffalo Sabres are lining up tonight, the time has come to outline three key factors to watch vs. the Boston Bruins. And in case you have yet to catch a glimpse at the lineup, here is how it’s slated to look like when the two teams take the ice:
As you can see, Zach Benson will get a crack at playing on the top line alongside Jeff Skinner and Tage Thompson. Jiri Kulich and Isak Rosen will be looking to put their names further into the conversation of snagging a spot in the lineup, and we will also see Rasmus Dahlin pair with Mattias Samuelsson, which could foreshadow that they will remain a primary pair when the regular season begins.
Buffalo Sabres vs. Bruins Preseason Game 2: What to watch for
1 – How Zach Benson will fare on the top line
In my bold predictions piece, I wrote that Zach Benson will enjoy a repeat performance from Sunday’s game. The 13th overall pick in this year’s draft has proven that he can play well alongside prospects and the Blue and Gold’s lower-liners like Tyson Jost, but today, he faces a test regarding chemistry in a live game situation with two of the Sabres best scorers.
There is also the question of how Benson will fare after just one day of rest in an NHL game vs. some players on the other side of the ice that will make the Bruins top squad. In short, this is an interesting test for the 18-year-old, and it will act as another measuring stick game early in his career.
2 – Jiri Kulich and Isak Rosen
While Benson likely has no chance of playing NHL minutes in the regular season, Jiri Kulich and Isak Rosen could make their debut if they separate themselves from the competition for the spot Jack Quinn will leave vacant until at least January. Most likely, you will see a veteran sidling in, but neither Kulich, Rosen, or even Brandon Biro should be counted out just yet.
Kulich and Rosen did nothing this past Sunday to gain an edge, although Biro enjoyed a solid outing. If that doesn’t change tonight, then the duo don’t have many chances left to gain serious traction.
3 – The Dahlin-Samuelsson pairing
Rasmus Dahlin and Mattias Samuelsson haven’t been seen on the ice in the same way as Dahlin has with newcomer Connor Clifton. However, that’s changing tonight, as the duo are slated to line up alongside one another.
Last season, Dahlin and Samuelsson turned into a remarkable defensive pairing, and they should give us quite a show tonight in shutting down what looks like a younger, more prospect-laden Bruins squad. It won’t be a great measuring stick given the spotty talent they’re facing, but a good showing will make for another step to keep this pairing together – primarily, anyway.