Season Outlook: Buffalo Sabres vs. Vancouver Canucks

Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

The Buffalo Sabres and Vancouver Canucks will face each other twice this coming season, with the teams meeting once in each home venue. First, the Canucks will visit the First Niagara Center on October 17 before Buffalo heads west on March 23.

There have been a few changes to the Canucks line-up this offseason. Gone from the Vancouver Canucks via free agency are Maxim Lapierre and former Buffalo Sabres forward Derek Roy; the team added former Rochester Americans forward Alex Biega, who became a free agent this offseason, as well as former Los Angeles Kings player Brad Richardson.

The biggest move of the summer for the Canucks, however, came in their goaltending. In a world swirling with debates over whether it would be Luongo or Schneider this coming season, the Canucks traded Cory Schneider to the New Jersey Devils for a 2013 first-round draft pick.

It later came out that Luongo was ready to walk away from his contract but has now re-committed himself to the Canucks organization. Between the Schneider move and the Luongo comments, coupled with the fact that we still don’t know exactly who will be the backup goaltender this season, the Canucks goaltending situation is quite an enigma at this point and will be an intriguing storyline in the months to come.

Despite all of this, much of the Canucks core remains intact. Ryan Kesler, Alexander Burrows, Daniel Sedin, Henrik Sedin, Alexander Edler, Kevin Bieksa – all still in Vancouver and ready to roll into the coming season.

The Vancouver Canucks and the Buffalo Sabres didn’t meet last season due to the lockout, so the last time the teams met was way back in March 2012, when the Sabres took a 5-3 win over the Canucks. Ville Leino had a pair of goals, while Brad Boyes, Christian Ehrhoff and Tyler Ennis also scored for Buffalo. David Booth scored twice and Zack Kassian added goals for the Canucks, with Ryan Miller stopping 32 of 35 shots against. Goaltending duty in that game was split for the Canucks, as Roberto Luongo was pulled after allowing three goals in 5:10. Cory Schneider played the rest of the game, allowing one goal on 17 shots in 54:31 ice time.

The last time that the Canucks came to Buffalo, the Sabres won 4-3 in overtime on November 15, 2010.

Players to Watch

  • VANCOUVER: Aside from keeping a watchful eye out on the Canucks’ goaltending situation (will Eddie Lack become backup?), there’s a few players to look at here. Alexandre Burrows has four points (1-3) in six career games against Buffalo, while forward David Booth has a little more experience facing the Buffalo Sabres than some of his teammates. In 17 games against Buffalo, Booth had eight points. Last – but certainly not least – there’s the Sedins. Daniel Sedin has 10 points (3-7) in 12 games against Buffalo, while Henrik Sedin has eight points in 12 games. If I were you, I’d keep an eye on each of them.
  • BUFFALO: Buffalo Sabres forward Thomas Vanek has seven points in six career games against the Canucks. Tyler Ennis and Tyler Myers have each averaged a point per game against Vancouver, in two and three games played each, respectively. Finally, Ville Leino has three points in four games. Also watch for former Canucks Cody Hodgson, Alexander Sulzer and Christian Ehrhoff because, well, why not? You can never tell what a guy’s going to put up against his former team, but it’s always worth watching.

Meetings This Season

  • October 17 @ BUF
  • March 23 @ VAN

Topics: Buffalo Sabres, Vancouver Canucks

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