For the second time in five days, the Buffalo Sabres will face off against the New Jersey Devils.
While it wasn’t an easy game for the Sabres by any stretch of the means – they came away victors in the shootout – one of only nine times they have won so far this year.
One of the key factors in why they were successful against the New Jersey Devils will not be in the lineup, as Patrick Kaleta is still serving his five game suspension for his hit on Brad Richards on Sunday. This will be his second game he has to watch for his actions.
Kaleta gave Ilya Kovalchuk fits in that game – but the ice will have more room for the talented All Star – and that could prove problematic for Buffalo.
If you think the Buffalo Sabres have problems this year, the last six games for the New Jersey Devils have been no picnic. After losing future hall of famer Martin Brodeur to a sore back – New Jersey has only been able to grab one loser point in six games – the shootout loss to Buffalo. Outside of that limited success, the Devils have been 0-5 without Brodeur on the active roster.
If the Buffalo Sabres can manage a win – it would be the first time in 27 years that the Devils would have lost 7 games in a row.
While they couldn’t pull off a comeback despite ample attempts – the Buffalo Sabres showed signs of life in the Carolina Hurricanes game, despite falling 4-3. The game wasn’t pretty, as the Sabres mistakes piled up and amounted to their overall loss.
Tonight would be a good night to showcase Jhonas Enroth and see if life cannot be breathed into his game. Enroth has not one a game since November 26, 2011. Having not won an NHL game in over a year is doing little for the young netminder’s confidence or stock in the National Hockey League. The fact that the New Jersey Devils have only scored 11 goals in their last six games – might be the opportune time to play him and get his hockey legs back under him. It could also be the game that gets the New Jersey Devils snapped out of their historic slump.
Game time is scheduled for 7PM.
OUT OF TOWN SCOREBOARD WATCH
Just four points out of the playoff picture, the Buffalo Sabres have precious little time to climb back into the mix if they are hoping for an appearance in the post season after a lackluster start to the season. 24 games down, 24 to go, they need a lot of help from the out of town scoreboard.
Toronto Maple Leafs vs Boston Bruins – Buffalo Sabres division rivals are 10 and 11 points ahead of the Buffalo Sabres collectively. Tough game for the Sabres to see on the schedule, and they have to hope for a regulation end.
New York Rangers vs. New York Islanders – The New York Rangers hold the final playoff spot with 24 points. The Islanders are just ahead of the Sabres by two points.
Pittsburgh Penguins vs Philadelphia Flyers – Pittsburgh sits atop their division, so the interstate rivalry has to go in the Penguins favor – will bring the Sabres to within one point of the Flyers.
Florida Panthers vs Washington Capitals – The Battle of the Basement. If the Capitals win, and the Sabres lose – they will jump over the blue and gold in the standings. A Florida win keeps the Sabres atop the two worst teams in the East.
Winnipeg Jets vs Tampa Bay Lightning – while a three point game in the other contests hurts, this one is extra critical. A three point game puts both teams ahead of the Sabres – a regulation win and a Sabres win puts one of them momentarily below the Buffalo Sabres in the standings.