Tonight the Buffalo Sabres entertain the Winnipeg Jets for the first time since the team returned to Canada. Tonight will be an interesting night for three reasons:
1. Ryan Miller is expected to return to the pipes. We will see how he responds to being benched in favor of the backup.
2. Winnipeg is closing out the longest road trip of the season, something that will get better when they return to the Western Conference.
3. Former Sabre Dale Hawerchuk will be inducted into the Buffalo Sabres Hall of Fame tonight.
Miller has taken the benching like a pro, despite his poor attitude from the start. Getting the start against the Jets will be important for Miller. Against the team when they were the Atlanta Thrashers Miller is a career 11-2-5, with a GAA of 2.50.
While the Sabres goalie is looking to get his permanent spot between the pipes back, the Jets are trying to rebound from a shutout loss against the New York Rangers. Being 3-2-1 on this road trip, a win could give them a boost of confidence needed to erase the effects of a poor start in their new city.
Game time is scheduled for 7PM, with puck drop to be a little later due to the induction ceremony. **There will be no Live Chat on Sabrenoise.com tonight.**
The Sabres are up against a tough schedule after tonights contest with Winnipeg, as they will play a stretch of games in the division against Ottawa, Boston, and Montreal. With the win over Ottawa Saturday night, the Sabres maintained second place in the division, and are only three points behind division leading Toronto Maple Leafs. These three games could be crucial into overtaking the Leafs for one of the top three spots in the conference. The Sabres do not play the Toronto hockey club until mid December. With two games against Toronto before the calender rolls, and the last four in the new year, as long as the Sabres can keep their winning ways against the blue and white – it will be an immense push in the standings late in the season.
Jochen Hecht has been working out on his own and is apparently been symptom free after a couple of skates after the team has practiced. I still don’t see where you fit Jochen into the lineup, but his return appears to be soon, if there are no set backs in his development. Tyler Ennis has been working off the ice to return as quickly as possible, but has not skated.