Five questions about tonight’s 10-game NHL schedule

The Sabres had only 10 shots on Tuesday. (John E. Sokolowski, USA TODAY Sports)

The Sabres had only 10 shots on Tuesday. (John E. Sokolowski, USA TODAY Sports)

There’s a busy schedule tonight with 10 games. Five questions:

Will the Sabres rebound from their 10-shot effort?

They certainly didn’t look good on Tuesday against the Toronto Maple Leafs, breaking their team record for fewest shots in a game. Tonight, they face the Bruins, who shut them out earlier this season. But the Bruins are missing injured defensemen Zdeno Chara and Torey Krug in this game. Coach Ted Nolan put the Sabres through a tough practice after Tuesday’s loss, so expect a more-inspired effort.

This, too, could inspire them. Ouch.

How will the Panthers’ attendance be?

It was 7,311 when they last played at home. But that’s mostly because the team stopped giving tickets away. Considering the Panthers went 2-0-2 on their recent trip, there should be a little bit of a buzz about the team.

A quick look at the ticket seating map shows more sold seats than available seats.

Will Darcy Kuemper rebound from his bad third period?

The funny thing is that even though the Minnesota Wild goalie gave up five goals in blowing a lead to the New York Rangers on Monday, he still leads starting NHL goalies with a 1.51 goals-against average.

Part of that is because he has two shutouts at home, where the Wild face the San Jose Sharks tonight, and three overall. The Sharks had 51 shots on Tuesday vs. the Colorado Avalanche, but the Wild should be able to limit their opportunities tonight.

Are the New York Islanders for real?

So far, they look very good, especially their offense. Once-maligned general manager Garth Snow made some stellar pickups in the offseason, particularly his training camp trades for Johnny Boychuk and Nick Leddy.

The big test starts tonight in Denver, where the Islanders open a five-game trip that includes the always-difficult California leg.

What else is going on?

Chicago’s Marian Hossa will play in his 1,100th game and needs two points to reach 1,000. He’s playing in Ottawa, where he began his NHL career. … St. Louis Blues forwards David Backes and T.J. Oshie are out tonight with concussions. … Winnipeg Jets forward Evander Kane (knee) will play for the first time since the season opener. … The No. 1 offense faces the No. 2 defense when the Pittsburgh Penguins host the Los Angeles Kings.

Your games tonight

Boston at Buffalo, 7

Winnipeg at New Jersey, 7

Los Angeles at Pittsburgh, 7

Chicago at Ottawa, 7:30

Philadelphia at Tampa Bay, 7:30

Arizona at Florida, 7:30

Anaheim at St. Louis, 8

San Jose at Minnesota, 8

N.Y. Islanders at Colorado, 9

Montreal at Vancouver, 10

Follow the rest of USA TODAY Sports’ in-depth NHL coverage at nhl.usatoday.com

Article source: http://ftw.usatoday.com/2014/10/five-questions-nhl-preview

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