Are your coffee pots ready? Fridge stocked full of red bull – your going to need it this week as the Buffalo Sabres prepare to begin their road trip
through the sunny state of California this week. First stop – the San Jose Sharks.
Tonight’s game starts a series of late nights and early mornings. Tonight’s game is scheduled for a 10:30 start time – and can be seen on MSG.
Buffalo comes into tonight’s game off to a franchise worse start – losers of seven of their last eight games, the most recent being the collapse against the Anaheim Ducks at First Niagara Center. The Sabres are hoping some time a long way from home will help cure some of their problems.
Unfortunately for them, the opponents in California are some of the toughest the NHL has to offer this year. San Jose and the Buffalo Sabres do have one thing in common – both teams are looking for their first win of November. While San Jose has only lost in regulation once so far this year, their last outing was an overtime loss against the Phoenix Coyotes – who are closely trailing the Sharks and Ducks in the Pacific Division.
Part of the problem for the Buffalo Sabres is the course of their rebuild – the team has taken the long road approach, hoping that the “learning coach” with USA Hockey roots can teach the young group of players to bond and gel as a team – growing into eventual Stanley Cup Champions. He is doing that through ice time and healthy scratches so players can get a little “perspective” and not get too comfortable in their role.
What is working for the San Jose Sharks? Everything. In this their 22 season in the National Hockey League – they have only not qualified for the playoffs five times. The Sharks are hoping they can buck a trend of making the playoffs, but failing miserably to get any deeper than the Western Conference Finals. If they continue their path of destruction through the NHL this season – it will be their 10th straight year of making the playoffs, and they are hoping to reach the holy grail at the end of the grueling season, not just show up and be an opponent.
If the Buffalo Sabres are hoping to shop their starting goaltender in Ryan Miller – they may have a chance at keeping tonight’s game close – as Miller is hoping for that West Coast team to really make a push at pulling him away from the Sabres. I would expect Miller to get the start in all three of these games – as the team tries to increase his overall trade value and showcase his abilities to the teams he no doubt wants to be traded too.
Don’t forget to head over to Rich’s fan chatter post to put up your predictions for tonight’s contest, and as always – keep it tuned in here to read all our responses after the game.