October 30, 2013; Los Angeles, CA, USA; San Jose Sharks defenseman Justin Braun (61) turns the puck over as Los Angeles Kings right wing Dustin Brown (23) recovers during the second period at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Buffalo Sabres Pregame Skate #18: Los Angeles Kings

The Buffalo Sabres continue their march through California against the Los Angeles Kings in the second of three games away from home. This is the first of two games to be played between Buffalo and Los Angeles in the next week. The Sabres enter this game after a surprising shootout victory over the San Jose Sharks. Buffalo received a rare stroke of good luck when they caught the War Room snoozing on a San Jose goal in overtime, but they’ll make no apologies as a win is a win.

Buffalo showed great tenacity against San Jose and they played maybe their hardest working game of the season. Still, they allowed over 50 shots and required a shootout to get the win. They’ll face the same challenge against the Kings, as LA brings a stronger physical component to the game than do the Sharks. The Buffalo bottom six will be key here as players like Brian Flynn, Ville Leino, and Steve Ott will be counted on to counter the likes of Anze Kopitar, Dustin Brown, and Justin Williams. The Kings will be without Jeff Carter, who is still on injured reserve.

This game will pit two candidates for USA Hockey’s goaltender slot in Jonathan Quick and Ryan Miller. While Quick was widely considered the heavy favorite as netminder in Sochi, his play this year is leaving the door open for Miller, whose play has been stellar behind a weak Buffalo squad. Quick has an .896 save percentage thus far, compared to Miller’s .919.

The Sabres will look to the line of Cody Hodgson (13 points in his last 15 GP), Tyler Ennis, and Matt Moulson (14 pts in his last 10 GP) to spark the offense. The line was once again very effective against San Jose and they’ll have a tougher time of it against the physical defense of the Kings. It will be up to Moulson to get rugged in the corners and maintain puck possession as that is not really Hodgson’s or Ennis’ strength.

The Kings meanwhile must play hard-nosed hockey and prevent turnovers. If they can stay out of the penalty box and not give the puck away, they should be the better team that wins this game tonight. The Sabres power play has improved of late (just ask the Sharks) and the Kings would be wise to sacrifice some physicality in the name of discipline.

The Sabres and Kings will meet again on November 12th in Buffalo, NY. Tonight’s game will be their 114th game all time. The Sabres lead the all time series 55-39-19 and they 24-23-10 all time on the road against the Kings. The Sabres will visit the Anaheim Ducks tomorrow evening.

Tonight’s game will be at 10:30PM EST and can be seen on MSG.

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