The Buffalo Sabres are going for their fourth win in a row tonight! They are also hoping to make a big splash in the news yet again, although this time I hope it’s for a trade, not a hissy fit.
Tonight’s Opponent: The Dallas Stars
Record:28-22-10, 66 pts.
Standings: Eighth in the Western Conference
Current Streak: Lost one
The Stars, currently 1-1 since resuming play following the 2014 Winter Olympics break, are in danger of getting caught looking ahead in their schedule tonight.
After all, their opponent is the 18-34-8 Buffalo Sabres, a team that just traded starting goalie Ryan Miller and team captain/fan favorite/major agitator Steve Ott out of town. The Sabres are also a team that appears to be experiencing some turmoil in the front office, as evidenced by President of Hockey Operations Pat LaFontaine‘s resignation Saturday evening. Add to all of this the fact that the Stars have a huge showdown Thursday with the Vancouver Canucks, one of two teams tied with Dallas at 66 points in the Western Conference, and you have the very definition of a trap game, folks.
The Stars might be telling the media and themselves that they are not under-estimating the lowly Sabres, but we all know that is almost certainly not true. Buffalo looks like a one-legged deer trying to escape a cheetah right about now, so the Stars could conceivably put it on cruise control for this NBC Sports Network-televised game this evening.
Aside from the Lindy Ruff storyline, which really isn’t much of a story any more since he already received a warm return welcome when the Stars visited the First Niagara Center back in October, Sabres fans who still harbor ill-will toward former GM Darcy Regier can have fun watching Valeri Nichushkin, the Russian power-forward the Sabres passed over in the draft, add to his impressive rookie stat line of 13 goals, 16 assists, and a plus/minus rating of +17 tonight. And for those of you miss seeing former Boston Bruins forward Tyler Seguin battling the Sabres, rejoice! He’s leading all Stars players with 25-32-57 and a +11 rating, so be on the lookout for him tonight.
Also hot: Jamie Benn, who has a goal and three assists in his last three games, and who slew the US with the only goal in the game against the Yanks and Canada in Sochi.