Train Wreck #1: October 12, Sabres at Chicago Blackhawks
The defending Stanley Cup champions open their 2013-2014 season with six home games in an eight-game span. The fourth of those home games comes against the visiting Buffalo Sabres. By this point, the Blackhawks will have survived the emotion of having their championship banner raised to the rafters of the United Center. They are an experienced team who remain virtually unchanged since the offseason began, and while they may stumble out of the gates and fail to recreate last year’s epic start, I don’t expect them to take too long to regain their chemistry, especially with a pre-season under their belts.
Meanwhile, the Buffalo Sabres are a mostly inexperienced squad who will be struggling to find chemistry as they learn how to mix parts and play together. This early in the season, travelling to Chicago to face the Stanley Cup champions is a recipe for an ugly-looking game. The good news? A butt-kicking at the hands of the Blackhawks should provide the young Sabres the motivation needed to make the March rematch in Buffalo one hell of a battle.