When it comes to playing teams in the Pacific Division, the San Jose Sharks of course know their opposition very well. When it comes to those teams over the on eastern seaboard, however, there's a little less familiarity.
Such is the case for their tilt Thursday night, as they take on the Sabres of the Atlantic Division. And given Buffalo has gone through a few changes since last season -- including the addition of No. 1 overall draft pick Rasmus Dahlin -- this team will be even more different than the one the Sharks last played during the 2017 season.
"I probably only know half the team," Evander Kane, who played in Buffalo before being acquired by San Jose last season, told the media Thursday morning. "There's been a lot of turnover, through and since I was in Buffalo."
The Sharks newest arrival, Erik Karlsson, had something very similar to say. Although the defenseman played against the Sabres plenty of times while with the Ottawa Senators, this isn't the same team he faced in season's past.
"They're going through a little bit of a transition period," Karlsson said. "Played them a lot over the course of the years. But it's a totally different team now. Not what it used to be."
Rookie defenseman Dahlin, who scored his first NHL goal against the Arizona Coyotes last week, isn't the only new addition to the evolving Sabres squad. Forward Conor Sheary was acquired from the Pittsburgh Penguins during the off-season. He's currently ranked second on the team with four points in six games -- behind captain Jack Eichel's five points -- and currently leads the team with three goals on the power play.
Even with the changes to the roster, Kane told the media he expects the Sabres to come in and play a fast-paced game.
The Sharks and Sabres face off at 7:30 p.m. with pregame coverage beginning at 7 on NBC Sports California.