Credit: Rob Grabowski-USA TODAY Sports

Season Outlook: Buffalo Sabres vs. Chicago Blackhawks

The Buffalo Sabres will face the Stanley Cup-winning Chicago Blackhawks twice this season, meeting the team for the first time since January 18, 2012. Ten of 18 Sabres skaters from the 2012 game are no longer with the team now.

The Buffalo Sabres will visit the Chicago Blackhawks on Saturday, October 12 before hosting the Cup winners on Sunday, March 9. This is the first time the teams have met since 2012, since last season’s scheduled meeting in December was canceled due to the lockout.

The last meeting between the teams – back in the beginning of 2012 – saw the Hawks win, 6-2. Jonathan Toews had a pair of goals, while Duncan Keith had a pair of assists, to lead Chicago to victory. Brent Seabrook, Dave Bolland and Jimmy Hayes each had two-point nights as well, with Corey Crawford notching the win for the Hawks.

Looking at the roster from that game, over half of the Sabres’ skaters are now gone. The ones remaining: Mike Weber, Drew Stafford, Ville Leino, Thomas Vanek, Patrick Kaleta, Matt Ellis (though he’ll likely be in Rochester), Tyler Myers and Luke Adam (will likely be in Rochester).

Going even further back, the last time the Sabres and Blackhawks met before the 2012 game was twice during the 2010-11 season. Chicago won both of those games by scores of 4-3.

And of course, since that game in 2012 when the teams most recently met, the Hawks have won another Stanley Cup, which they’ll look to build off this coming season after losing several players to free agency and trades. Rostislav Olesz, Viktor Stalberg and Ray Emery are all gone; so are Dan Carcillo, Michael Frolik and Dave Bolland.

Looking at things from the other side, the Hawks have also added a few players. Former Buffalo Sabres prospect Mike Kostka, who spent time mostly in the AHL during his Buffalo tenure and spent last year with the AHL’s Toronto Marlies, is now a member of the Hawks organization. Goaltender Nikolai Khabibulin , who has a 2.28 GAA against Buffalo in his NHL career, has also joined Chicago for the upcoming season.

Aside from the obvious highlight of last season, the Blackhawks also captured the President’s Trophy, scoring 77 points and winning 36 of 48 games played. Patrick Kane led the team with 55 points and 32 assists, while he was tied with captain Jonathan Toews for the team lead in goals scored (23 each).

Players to Watch

  • CHICAGO: The dynamic duo of Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews have ten points between the two against the Sabres in their careers; Kane has 2 goals and 3 assists, while Toews has 3 goals and 2 assists. Marian Hossa has 30 points in 44 career games against Buffalo, while Patrick Sharp has five points in nine games. Defensemen Brent Seabrook and Duncan Keith have a combined 10 points – all assists – against the Sabres in their careers.
  • BUFFALO: Steve Ott has 14 career points against the Blackhawks, including ten goals. (He also has 58 penalty minutes against Chicago.) Cody Hodgson has four points in four games against Chicago, while Thomas Vanek has five points in seven games.

Meetings This Season:

  • October 12 @ CHI
  • March 9 @ BUF

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Tags: Buffalo Sabres Chicago Blackhawks

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