SUNRISE — There will be more than the usual amount of pleasantries going around before the Florida Panthers play host to the Buffalo Sabres on Thursday night.
First off, Thursday’s game will mark the first time Sam Reinhart and Brandon Montour will face their former teammates since being traded to the Panthers in 2021.
While it will probably be more of a meaningful game when those two go back to Buffalo in March, this will have to do for now.
The Sabres also have a couple of former Panthers on their roster although Mark Pysyk did play against his former mates last season while with Dallas.
This will be Vinnie Hinostroza’s first game since Florida traded him to Chicago at last season’s deadline.
Craig Anderson has been removed from the Panthers for sometime but the goalie still has his fans in South Florida.
Although Anderson is injured, he is on the trip and staying at his home in Parkland.
If you saw a fancy sports car flying down the Sawgrass Expressway lately, that just may well have been Andy.
Buffalo started off its season exceeding initial expectations by winning its first three and five of the opening seven games.
Things have come back to earth for the Sabres since.
The team has lost its past two games and six of seven.
The Panthers, meanwhile, are coming off a thrilling come-from-behind 5-4 win against the Capitals in which Florida came into the third down 4-1 and rallied to win.
Reinhart got the game-winning goal with just over 14 seconds remaining.
— Florida is not expected to get Anthony Duclair back Thursday after he missed morning skate.
— Gus Forsling, put on the IR following Saturday’s game, skated with the team on Thursday.
FLORIDA PANTHERS ON DECK
BUFFALO SABRES AT FLORIDA PANTHERS
- WHEN: Thursday, 7 p.m.
- WHERE: FLA Live Arena, Sunrise
- TICKETS: CLICK HERE
- TV/STREAMING: Bally Sports Florida
- RADIO: WQAM 560
- Last season: Did not play
- All-time regular season series: Buffalo leads 52-44-5, 4 ties
- Odds via BetMGM: Florida favored (PL -1.5 -115) — (ML -300) — U/O 6
- Up next: St. Louis at Florida, Saturday, 1; Buffalo at Carolina, Saturday, 7:30
PROJECTED FLORIDA PANTHERS LINEUP
11 Jonathan Huberdeau // 9 Sam Bennett // 23 Carter Verhaeghe
98 Maxim Mamin // 15 Anton Lundell // 13 Sam Reinhart
77 Frank Vatrano // 19 Joe Thornton // 74 Owen Tippett
94 Ryan Lomberg // 27 Eetu Luostarinen // 70 Patric Hornqvist
52 MacKenzie Weegar // 5 Aaron Ekblad
62 Brandon Montour // 32 Lucas Carlsson
8 Matt Kiersted // 7 Radko Gudas
72 Sergei Bobrovsky
30 Spencer Knight
Scratched: Kevin Connauton, Aleksi Heponiemi
Injured: Noel Acciari (LTIR), Olli Juolevi (IR), Markus Nutivaara (LTIR), Mason Marchment (IR), Sasha Barkov (IR), Gus Forsling (IR), Anthony Duclair
PROJECTED BUFFALO SABRES LINEUP
53 Jeff Skinner // 72 Tage Thompson // 71 Victor Olofsson
57 Brett Murray // 24 Dylan Cozens // 21 Kyle Okposo
28 Zemgus Girgensons // 37 Casey Mittelstadt // 74 Rasmus Asplund
17 Mark Jankowski // 20 Cody Eakin // 29 Vinnie Hinostroza
26 Rasmus Dahlin // 13 Mark Pysyk
78 Jacob Bryson // 10 Henri Jokiharju
8 Robert Hagg // 33 Colin Miller
31 Justin Tokarski
80 Aaron Dell