Tampa Bay comes into town tonight looking for some revenge after a last second gaffe gave Buffalo some hope, and Tyler Myers scored the lone goal in the shootout, back when the Sabres defeated Tampa Bay 3-2 earlier this season.
The Sabres look to come out in the second half of the year just as shiny as they left the old one – leading the Northeast Division and only trailing the Eastern Conference leader (New Jersey) by 5, with the same number of games played. They only trail the NHL point leader (Chicago) by 7 – and Chicago has played two more games.
If you were to ask me at the beginning of the season if I was going to take what position the Sabres were in right now mid-way through the season, sure I would sign up for it. But since we are here, and not there, the Sabres have some definite room for improvement.
First period woes have continued. While getting better, the Sabres cannot give their opponents twenty minutes of free playing time while they try and figure out the game plan. I know the schedule doesn’t lend itself to much on ice practice time, but I am sure there is enough video out there on even the Western Conference teams that makes coming up with a game plan that much easier.
The point of being better in the first period, the Sabres have yet to be defeated when they take a lead into the third period. A sterling 16-0 when leading after two is one of the biggest reasons they sit in first place. The recent rash of comebacks has something to do with it as well.
The Sabres are undeafeted when they really need to be, when leading after two, when playing the Western Conference (a record that will likely see its first blemish on this up coming trip, although it would be nice if it stayed clean).
Tampa Bay comes into tonights game not only looking for a little revenge for the bittersweet loss earlier this season, but after beating the defending Pittsburgh Penguins, but then again, who isn’t beating the Penguins right now?