There may still be no joy in Mudville, but there will be plenty to talk about in Buffalo as the Buffalo Sabres finally get to open the 21012-2013 NHL seaso. While the only idle team in the Eastern Conference on opening night, they get to open their NHL season on prime time NBC and have the national spotlight.
While yesterday’s marathon of channel flipping and hockey watching left fans with whip lash on how many games were being played at once, the Buffalo Sabres are the only team playing early afternoon, and their are only a few games slated for this evening.
Buffalo should have fresh legs – their opponent not so much. The Philadelphia Flyers played last night, and they couldn’t rekindle the fire and emotion they had in last years playoffs against the Pittsburgh Penguins. While Claude Giroux showed fans he hasn’t forgetten how to put the puck in the net – Pittsburgh cruised to a 3-1 victory – without the help of goals by Evgeni Malkin or Sidney Crosby.
What should have been an emotionally charged night turned into disappointment for the fans of the Broad Street Bullies – you always want to win your home opener. Things good go South quickly for the Flyers, with the fast turn around and the afternoon game against the Buffalo Sabres – who are itching to get back on the ice in front of their fans.
I am not saying that the Buffalo Sabres will have an easy time making the Flyers tuck tail and run – the Buffalo Sabres need to attack offensively early – and keep up the pressure. The Flyers legs will have to give out eventually – especially with the severely shortened training camp.
If you are lucky enough to have a ticket for opening night – you will most likely get to see the professional debut of Mikhail Grigorenko – the highly touted offensive first round draft pick of the Buffalo Sabres. While the team was tight lipped about his status throughout training camp – the kid gets five games to prove his worth. Darcy Regier has left the opening night roster spot on the table, labeling it a coaching decision on who players or not, Lindy Ruff would have to be having an absent minded professor moment not to give the kid a look at the ice tonight.
Top three lines for tonight should look like:
Defensive pairs on the ice should be:
Ryan Miller will get the nod in goal.