One day after plucking the ducks, the Buffalo Sabres meet another Western conference foe. Today in Berlin Germany, the Buffalo Sabres will face the Los Angeles Kings for the first and only time this season. The matchup is scheduled for 2PM EST (11AM PST). The game is the second and final game for both teams in the NHL’s 2011 NHL Premiere series.
The Buffalo Sabres speed was very evident in the opening game against the Anaheim Ducks, however travel problems getting to Germany from Finland had the Sabres arriving two hours late than previously planned. Baggage problems delayed the teams arrival at their hotel just 16 hours ahead of faceoff. This is something the team is going to have to get use to, because the NHL schedulers have the Buffalo Sabres playing in a league high number of back to back games this season – just one more adversity they will have to overcome en route to the post season quest.
Last season the Kings visited the Sabres, and a couple of late period goals gave the Sabres the victory in that contest. The Kings are anticipated to be a more difficult opponent this year, after surging into the playoff picture in the West, they have added a few pieces and hope to contend and be even higher in the standings.
The Buffalo Sabres will once again be without German native Jochen Hecht. still suffering from a concussion, it is unsure when the aging winger will be available for the Buffalo Sabres. Given his age (34) – and how well Luke
Adam (0-2-2) is
playing, it might be really hard for Lindy to insert Hecht into the lineup once he is ready to return. Hecht may be entering into the Craig Rivet/Tim Connolly portion of his career and may find himself watching more games from the press box. The Buffalo Sabres website reports that Hecht is trying to do everything he can to get on the ice for the Buffalo Sabres second game in Germany. He missed the chance to play against his former German Team (Die Adler Mannheim) – where he had previously spent five seasons, the latest being during the NHL lockout). Him and Sabres defensemen Christian Erhoff (0-1-1) are eager to play a regulation contest in front of their countrymen.
The Kings are not without injury early in the season as well, as Dustin Penner is still sidelined with a lower body injury. Penner skated on his own Thursday, and his condition is improving.
While Jhonas Enroth has earned the right to relief Ryan Miller as much as possible, this early in the season the young net minder will still have to wait to get his chance to shine on the ice in the regular season play. Despite back to back situations, I would anticipate Lindy playing Ryan Miller in both the NHL Premiere series games in Europe, especially with almost a full week off before the Sabres next contest. The Kings however will not go with their starting goaltender, as backup Jonathan Bernier will dress – giving starter Jonathan Quick a rest.
The Buffalo Sabres return home immediately after tonight’s game, and prepare for their home opener against the Carolina Hurricanes on Friday October 14th.
The Buffalo Sabres are hosting Puktober Fest today downtown. The arena will be abuzz with German food and drink, and then fans are invited to join the organization inside to watch the game on the jumbotron.