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Lightning pre-game: Get to know the Buffalo Sabres

The Lightning's on the road for the next week, starting with a game tonight against Buffalo at 7:30 p.m.

It's the 99th game all-time between the Sabres and Lightning. The Sabres will look to improve on their all-time home record of 25-18-5 against Tampa Bay.

When the two teams last met on April 6, the Lightning defeated the Sabres 7-5 in Tampa.

Here's what you need to know about the Sabres:

• As of Monday, Jack Eichel was tied for third in the league with seven multi-point games. Jeff Skinner is tied for 10th with six such games.

• Buffalo has a 5-2-1 home record this season. Those 11 points through eight games are the best home start in up to 10 games since the 2009-10 season.

• Skinner sits second in the NHL with 12 goals as of Monday.

• Buffalo holds the No. 6 spot in the Eastern Conference with 20 points. The Lightning, on the other hand, sits in the No. 1 spot with 25 points.

• The Sabres rank No. 19 in the NHL with 3.06 goals per game. They have also given up 3.06 goals per game, 14th in the NHL.

• Buffalo's power play ranks 18th and the penalty kill ranks 14th.

• Nathan Beaulieu played with Lightning defenseman Mikhail Sergachev and assistant coach Jeff Halpern in Montreal.

What Lightning coach Jon Cooper had to say about the Sabres after Tampa Bay's morning skate: 

On Buffalo improving from being one of the worst teams in the NHL: “The moves they have made in the last two years, especially now with getting the kid on the back end. And then Skinner. You just go through the list of guys they have brought in. It has really transformed their team. For sure, the best Buffalo team we have seen here in the last couple of years. They are well-balanced, they play the right way. Phil has done a fabulous job with this group, especially because there are so many new faces. That’s hard to do to get them all playing together. It is richly deserved to be where they are right now.”
On first overall pick Rasmus Dahlin: “For me, it is probably the same as when we played (Elias) Pettersson with the Canucks. You can’t really appreciate a player on video until you get to watch him up close. For so many new, exciting players in the league, he is clearly one of them. You get to have a front-row seat and marvel at some of the new talented skill players that are in the league. I guess ask me that question after the game.”

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