(WGR 550) – When the puck drops in Florida on Thursday, a number of Buffalo Sabres players will go up against two former teammates on the Panthers' roster.
Sam Reinhart was traded to the Panthers on back on July 24 at the 2021 NHL Draft, while Brandon Montour was sent to Florida on April 10 ahead of the NHL Trade Deadline.
Reinhart is just a steady player as his numbers of five goals and eight assists for 13 points in 22 games are right in line with his career numbers in Buffalo were. In the past few days, the winger got to go out to dinner with a couple of his former teammates and he’s looking forward to playing against them, “I’m pretty excited. I was there quite a long time and it’s the only place I’d known.
“There have been a lot of friendships that have kept going even though I’m in a new organization and those go a lot further than on the ice and it’s been nice being able to catch up the last couple of days.”
The day after the trade, Reinhart called general manager Kevyn Adams and he said he felt it was the right thing to do, “It was a long tenure there and I thought it was important to reach out to him. I respect him and I respect everyone that’s still there, so there’s no hard feelings.”
Reinhart has had to play on a number of different lines, but he said it's been out of necessity, “There’s been a lot of mixing and matching, with injuries we’ve had to juggle things, but the thing here is the depth.”
Montour was only in Buffalo for 2.5 years, but he is still looking forward to the game, “There are a lot of good buddies on the other team there, so it’ll be a fun night.”
Despite losing two of their last three games, the Panthers are second in the NHL with a points percentage of .750. Florida has only won five of its last 11.
The last game was a memorable one for the Panthers and they overcame a 4-1 third period deficit to beat the Washington Capitals 5-4. Reinhart scored the game-winning goal at 19:45 of the third period, recording Florida’s 27th shot of the period.
Captain Aleksander Barkov has missed six games due to injury. Jonathan Huberdeau is their leading scorer with 23 points in 22 games. Huberdeau has 27 points in 29 games against the Sabres.
Florida is 12-1-0 at home this season.
Sergei Bobrovsky is in goal for Florida. He’s 10-1-2 with a 2.18 goals against and .930 save percentage.
These two teams haven’t met since Jan. 4, 2020 when Buffalo won 3-2.
The Sabres will welcome Casey Mittelstadt back to the lineup. He’s only played 9:07 this season getting hurt on opening night.
Buffalo didn’t have a morning skate on Thursday, so we don’t yet know who is in goal.
The Sabres only have one win in seven games. They’ve scored four goals in four of those games and won only one.
Victor Olofsson has been back from injury for six games, but hasn’t scored a goal, but does have five assists.
Tage Thompson has seven points in six games. Rasmus Dahlin has eight points in nine games.
Dustin Tokarski will not in net, as the veteran has been placed in the NHL's COVID-19 Protocols. Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen has been called up from the Rochester Americans, while Malcolm Subban is not available for the team yet after his trade to Buffalo on Thursday.
It is unclear, at this point, who will get the start in goal between Luukkonen and Aaron Dell.
Join Schopp and the Bulldog for pregame coverage on WGR starting at 6 p.m. EST when they’ll be joined by Don Granato, Mittelstadt and Dahlin.