Season Outlook: Buffalo Sabres vs. Winnipeg Jets

Credit: Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports

The Winnipeg Jets and Buffalo Sabres will meet twice in the 2013-2014 NHL season, with both meetings coming with a span of just two weeks. Winnipeg will visit the Sabres on December 17, with Buffalo heading out to visit the Jets on New Year’s Eve.

The Winnipeg Jets have added three players of note this offseason, starting with former Buffalo Sabres defenseman Adam Pardy. They also acquired Devin Setoguchi from the Minnesota Wild in exchange for a 2014 second-rounder, and picked up Michael Frolik from the Chicago Blackhawks in exchange for draft picks.

On a similar note to yesterday’s preview against the Washington Capitals, the Buffalo Sabres absolutely need to step things up this season against the Winnipeg Jets, as they dropped all three meetings last season, scoring just one goal in each of the three games.

Bryan Little and Andrew Ladd scored in a 2-1 win on February 19 that saw Jason Pominville notch the lone Buffalo goal from Cody Hodgson. Ryan Miller had 26 saves, while Ondrej Pavelec stopped 29 of 30 shots faced.

On April 9, the Jets came on a little stronger, winning 4-1. Kyle Wellwood, Aaron Gagnon,  Andrew Ladd and Blake Wheeler all scored for the Jets, while Kevin Porter tallied for the Sabres. It was again Miller vs. Pavelec, with the goaltenders stopped 26 and 29 shots, respectively.

Finally, the Jets took another 2-1 win on April 22. Gagnon scored, as well as Anttii Miettinen, and Pavelec had 24 saves. This time it was Thomas Vanek who had the lone goal for the Sabres, and Jhonas Enroth in net stopped 37 of 39 shots faced.

Of course, things will be different this season, as Winnipeg moves to the Western Conference as part of the NHL’s new realignment. This means the Buffalo Sabres will face them just twice this season as compared to three times last year.

Players to Watch

  • WINNIPEG: While it’s difficult to gauge who will be a powerhouse for the Jets this season in the Western Conference, there are a few players who have put up decent points against the Buffalo Sabres in the past. Dustin Byfuglien has scored 7 points and put up 40 penalty minutes agaisnt the Sabres in 13 career NHL games. (And yes, the Sabres are his most-penalized-against team.) Jets captain Andrew Ladd has 10 points (5-5) in 17 career games against Buffalo, while Blake Wheeler has 11 points (4-7) in 26 games against the Sabres.
  • BUFFALO: Allow me to single out a trio of players who have respectable point-to-game ratios against the Winnipeg Jets. Let’s start with Buffalo Sabres defenseman Tyler Myers, who has 10 points in 14 games against the Jets in his career. Mike Weber has three points in eight games, and Steve Ott has four points in 11 games against Winnipeg in his NHL career.

Meetings This Season

  • December 17 @ BUF
  • December 31 @ WPG

Topics: Buffalo Sabres, Winnipeg Jets

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