What happens when you only play a team once a year? It usually turns into one hell of a good time. Last season the Buffalo Sabres played the Dallas Stars in a similar fashion and both teams came out flying like heated division rivals. Tonights affair with the Calgary Flames has the recipe to turn out in the same fashion.
The Calgary Flames sit low in the standings out West, and come into tonights contest playing .500 hockey. The Buffalo Sabres enter tonight on a terrible home stand, which after a hot start has them fighting to stay above the .500 mark. The cards could be in the favor of the Sabres as the Flames are far from home and played a game last night against the struggling Detroit Red Wings.
Buffalo is going to need to play a complete 60 minute game against the Flames to have success. Against Detroit the Flames were able to block 20 shots, and Kiprusoff saw 28 of the 29 shots that made it to the net. The Sabres are going to have to come out strong, and not take their foot off the gas. This has been a problem of late for the struggling Blue and Gold.
The morale in the Sabres locker room is extremely low. They know they are playing terrible, and it shows in the responses from everyone from the coach on down. Lindy Ruff said the team will win again when they deserve to win. Ryan Miller’s poor attitude towards members of the media has drawn some particular ire from the fans.
As much talk as has been given to the goaltender situation here in Buffalo, Lindy Ruff is not going to unhinge his schedule for his netminders based ont he play of one or both of the guys. While the play of Ryan Miller has been nothing less than horrific, Jhonas Enroth has been as solid as could be asked for in a backup role. Whoever starts tonight will be because it was a planned start – as big as this game could be for the Buffalo Sabres, I am hoping that it is an Enroth start, just because the kid deserves the start after coming in the other night against Philadelphia and standing on his head allowing the Sabres to even think about the comeback.
Lindy Ruff stressed before the start of the season that the stat to look at this year is the goals for and goals against column. While the start of the season showed a huge divide in a winning Buffalo Sabres team, their recent stretch has drastically narrowed the gap. The Buffalo Sabres have scored an average of 2.82 goals per game, while allowing their opponent to tally 2.27 times. If the Sabres can return to their early season form they might just be able to win tonight, as the Flames are in a similar boat with goals for and goals against, albeit they have allowed .18 more scoring than they have turned the red light.
With the suspension to Patrick Kaleta, Rochester Amerks forward Corey Tropp will be in the lineup tonight for the Buffalo Sabres. Tyler Ennis continues to be out with his ankle injury. I would not expect to see him back in the lineup until closer to Thanksgiving. Jochen Hecht is seeing the chances of seeing the ice in the early parts of this season as he continues to battle with the concussion that has kept him out of the lineup all year.
No live chat tonight for this game, but you can follow Chris Elardo on Twitter @sabrenoise, as he will be tweeting and covering the game from the press box tonight. **Scheduling note. Cait Platt from Flame for Thought will be hosting tonights chat for us. The chat with the Flyers fans turned out fantastic, lets mesh the Sea of Red with Blue and Gold tonight and have a great chat.