PreGame Skate: Florida Panthers

 The Florida Panthers spent the off season changing their roster and the cutlure of the organization.  The We See Red campaign was launched to market to the fans to bring them on board with the changes.  Before the last game, I staked the claim that the only red that Panthers fans and players would be seeing was the glow of lights behind their goalie.  Thanks to two goals by Thomas Vanek and a stellar effort by Ryan Miller, the Buffalo Sabres shutout the Florida Panthers on their ice.  Tonight, the Buffalo Sabres will try to replicate the success from Sunrise Florida in their own building. 

The Florida Panthers are in town looking to end their Northeast road trip on a high note.  Thursday night in Ottawa, the Panthers saw a lead slip away and overtime loomed when the Senators Kris Versteeg tied the game up.   As the Panthers braced for the extra period, Nick Foligno ended the game with less than three ticks remaining on the clock.  Florida brings in a 5-4 record, which is good for third place in the Southeast, but far from the standards that the Panthers feel they should be at. 

While the roster overhaul over the summer was enough shock for the fans, there was another in store for the fans in Florida.  On August 16th, 2009 Frank Rekas called it one of the most important signings the franchise had ever made.   On Sunday, David Booth, the poster boy of the Panthers franchise was unceremoniously shipped off to Frank’s least favorite team, in a multi player deal that saw Booth, Reinprecht and a third rounder were traded to Vancouver for Marco Sturm and Mikael Samuelsson.  GM Dale Tallon was desperate to spark a team that had been shutout on back to back games with Buffalo and Washington. 

The Buffalo Sabres have some problems of their own, but nothng that would spark a trade of this nature.  In fact, I don’t think the Buffalo Sabres organization to pull the triggr on a trade in season outside of the confines of the trade deadline.  Darcy Regier needs the pefect storm to brew in order for him to make a trade.  Its not terrible, its just the way he rolls. 

The Buffalo Sabres enter tonights game looking to extend the winning that started in Buffalo on Thursday night.  Winning for the first time at home this season, the Buffalo squad still has a long way to go before they can think of contending for the Stanley Cup.  Chemistry issues have allowed the team to continue to let leads slip away.  It cost them the game against Tampa in their building, and they almost let it slip away against Carolina

For the Sabres to be successful against the Panthers tonight,they are going to need the same Ryan Miller that played in Sunrise, and not the Ryan Miller that faced the Lightning.  The offense needs to continue to be on fire, and the defense needs to clean some things up, namely their turnovers. 

It’s a wonder that Mike Weber hasn’t been insterted into the lineup jut yet.  After two games that we had against the Lightning, it seemed like the easiest and quickest way for Lindy Ruff to shake things up without tipping the boat. 

Join us tonight for another in game live chat.  There will be plenty of Panthers fans present during the game, so lets make sure there are enough members of the blue and gold fan club to make them feel welcome.  Game time is 7PM, Live chat will start around 630PM.  One of our staff writers, Melissa Kania will be reporting from First Niagara Center, her presence from the press box will be made via our twitter handle @sabrenoise.

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Tags: Buffalo Sabres David Booth Florida Panthers Ryan Miller Shutout Tampa Bay Lightning Thomas Vanek We See Red

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