[7:00 PM] Lightning @ Sabres

Who will WIN this matchup?

Tampa Bay Lightning (10-6-1)

@ Buffalo Sabres (5-7-4)


Starting Goalies:

Ben Bishop(TB): Confirmed

Robin Lehner(BUF): Confirmed


The Tampa Bay Lightning will have to play without captain Steven Stamkos as they attempt to remain unbeaten on their five-game road trip Thursday against the struggling Buffalo Sabres. Stamkos, who has 20 points in 17 games, was diagnosed with a lateral meniscus tear in his right knee Wednesday and is out indefinitely after falling to the ice awkwardly in Tuesday’s 4-3 victory at Detroit.

Tampa Bay could get a boost if speedy wing Jonathan Drouin can return from a concussion that has forced him to miss the last seven games, but defenseman Anton Stralman (upper body) is expected to sit out his third straight contest. Vladislav Namestnikov slid into the center position when Stamkos went down and coach Jon Cooper will likely shuffle his lines, especially if Drouin is back. With Stralman out, Andrej Sustr moved up to the top pair on defense beside Victor Hedman, who leads the team’s blue liners with three goals and 13 points.

Buffalo has injuries of its own with star center Jack Eichel (ankle), wing Tyler Ennis (groin) and defenseman Zach Bogosian out while blue liner Dmitry Kulikov (abdominal) is questionable. Captain Ryan Reilly, who is second to Okposo with nine points, is closing in on a return from an abdominal injury but is expected to miss his third straight game Thursday. Forward Matt Moulson leads the team with six goals – two shy of last season’s total – and talented defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen has yet to tally but tops the Sabres with eight assists.

Buffalo’s Dan Bylsma will coach his 500th game Thursday and has 292 victories in seven-plus seasons with Pittsburgh and the Sabres.

Tampa Bay D Slater Koekkoek has three assists and boasts a plus-4 rating in eight games since being recalled.

Buffalo’s win on Nov. 10 last season snapped a seven-game losing streak against the Lightning.


StreakSmarts Pick: Tampa Bay Lightning

Confidence: 5/10

StreakSmarter Pick