The Buffalo Sabres return to the ice tonight against the Boston Bruins – hoping to start another winning streak. So far this year the Sabres have only been able to string together two games at best.
Their next few games don’t get any easier – after being outscored and shutout by the Ottawa Senators. The Sabres need to channel a little bit of the energy they played with on January 31st – when they beat the Boston Bruins 7-4.
@sabrenoise “At least we beat Boston.” Wait, what is this, the Bills?
— Scott Michalak (@ScottyMCSS) February 14, 2013
If this is what the Buffalo Sabres have become, then boy are we in trouble. Instead of just trying to beat the Boston Bruins, the Buffalo Sabres need to start beating all of their Northeast division rivals, and the other teams that roll by their path. For starters though – lets begin with the Boston Bruins tonight.
For the Bruins, they skate in to First Niagara Center unshaken by the fact that their only regulation loss came to the Buffalo Sabres in the now forgotten “timeout” beating the Sabres gave the Bruins on January 31st. If anything that game served as a reminder to the Boston Bruins that they can be beat, that gods to bleed, and has fueled themselves up to be a better hockey team.
Injuries to the Ottawa Senators may have set the Boston Bruins up to take the Northeast division with little resistance from the rest of the division.
For Buffalo – that 7-4 game has been the sole highlight of an emotionally lacking season.
Boston is looking to keep its six game road streak alive – they remain unbeaten in regulation on the road, picking up a point in their only road, non-win. The Buffalo Sabres are trying to win at home since opening night.
Lindy Ruff is either deflecting the attention of the poor start to the season from his players – or he knows that he has been the problem.
“It is on me,” he told reporters. “I understand that. This is on me to clean it up.”
Lindy knows he is not on the hot seat to be fired – so he could be just deflecting attention away from his players. One of the players that has to be picking up his game is Drew Stafford. Saddled with a decent money contract, that looks bigger than it is due to his lack of production – Stafford needs to be better that his zero goals, five assists, and a -6. The fight with Scott Hartnell was a positive sign for Drew Stafford – if he can keep that part of his game, and pick up the scoring touch from his hot streak last year, he will round out his game. I am not saying he has to regularly drop the gloves, but playing out of character and using his 6’2″ frame to his advantage.
For the Buffalo Sabres to be successful against the Bruins – they need to put several things together – pucks to the net like against Ottawa – and pucks into the net like on January 31st. The Buffalo Sabres have dropped to seventh in overall scoring in the Eastern conference, and only the Washington Capitals have allowed more goals by their opponents (only leading the Sabres by a one goals against margin). The play of Ryan Miller has gotten better as of late – but needs to increase to more of his career best years if the Buffalo Sabres are going to turn this around.
Game time is scheduled for 7PM.
Out Of Town Scoreboard Watch
The Buffalo Sabres sit in the final spot of the Eastern Conference, tied with four other teams with 11 points. A win would allow them to jump back up into the playoff picture, despite their meager start. Game tonight that will help/hurt their chances of climbing in the standings.
Philadelphia Flyers vs New Jersey Devils – the Flyers are just two points ahead of the struggling teams in the Eastern Conference. A Devils win here brings the Flyers even further down.
Pittsburgh Penguins vs Winnipeg Jets – here if for rooting for Sidney Crosby and company to win. The Winnipeg Jets actually are atop the 11 point club, and the Sabres need a Penguins victory to start the climb out of the hole they are in.
Both other Eastern Conference match ups are scheduled for 7PM starts.