The new Buffalo Sabres take to the ice in Tampa, Florida against an Atlantic Division team who has been headlining the news in the past week, with players coming back, leaving and anything in between.
Tonights Opponent: The Tampa Bay Lightning
Standings: Fifth in the Eastern Conference
Current Streak: Lost two
In post-olympic/trade deadline Tampa Bay, the Lightning have received some great news, and some sad news. Steven Stamkos makes his return tonight, in a timely fashion, after going down almost four months ago after breaking his leg November 11 against the Boston Bruins. This comes after about a month and a half of constant rehabilitation, making every effort to see him return to action. That wish, comes true tonight.
Stamkos’ 23 points (14 G, 9 A) still holds him at eighth place overall in point totals.
Every rose has it’s thorns right?
That seems to prove correct, as in a flurry of a deadline yesterday, Lightning captain Marty St. Louis is the next veteran of Tampa to move next in a deal with the Rangers that brings New York captain Ryan Callahan, a conditional 2014 second round pick and a 2015 first round pick down to the Sunshine State.
They have little time to become acquainted with one another, as the look to take on a fresh face 18-35-8 Buffalo Sabres team, who dealt Matt Moulson, Cody McCormick, Brayden McNabb, Jaroslav Halak, a prospect and a bunch of picks for some interesting prospects and future draft picks, with Michael Neuvirth, Torrey Mitchell and Radislav Kesla in tow coming to Buffalo. Buffalo also picked up former Lightning player Cory Conacher, who in now 2 for 2 in NHL trade deadlines after he was picked up on waivers yesterday afternoon. Conacher will not make his Sabres debut tonight, however.
I’m not saying with fresh faces in the locker room and some others that are going to be missing that the Sabres are a brand new team on a warpath, but with some new faces it definitely seems that Buffalo is preparing to play spoiler as they head into the last stretch of the season.
Aside from the trade deadline story, Victor Hedman has been a workhorse for the Lightning, with last game he recorded an assist, six blocked shots and three hits in a 4-2 loss to the St. Louis Blues. Over the past 13 games, Hedman has recorded 1 goal along with 12 assists, putting him at second place with the Lightning overall.
Valtteri Filppula also stands at first place, leading Tampa with 41 points (20 G, 21 A) so be aware anytime he is on the ice.