The Buffalo Sabres (19-36-8) return home after a three game road trip to host the Chicago Blackhawks (37-13-14). The Sabres are looking to win their first game against the Blackhawks since December of 2009.
Buffalo is 4-5-1 in their last ten games against Chicago, and are 6-3-1 in their last ten games at home. This will be the 113th matchup between the two teams, and a Buffalo Sabres loss would be the first five game losing streak against the Blackhawks since the first five games between Buffalo and Chicago starting in the 1970-1971 regular season.
While the Buffalo Sabres lost a member of their franchise yesterday with the retirement announcement of Rostislav Klesla – they should be gaining another one today. Waiver wire claim Cory Conacher should be with the team and making his Buffalo Sabres debut in front of the home Buffalo crowd.
While the Buffalo Sabres are largely a different team than what the Blackhawks hosted back on October 12, 2013 – the Chicago Blackhawks have changed slightly as well. While the Buffalo Sabres were busy selling on deadline day, the Blackhawks shored up their roster just before the deadline with the addition of defenseman David Rundblad acquired from the Phoenix Coyotes on March 4th.
For Patrick Kane – the homecoming is bitter sweet. It has been the better part of three seasons since the Chicago based hockey club played at the First Niagara Center.
While the Buffalo Sabres struggled against the Florida Panthers just two nights ago – and have traded away their core and leadership enduring tumultuous times, they have won four of the six games since the Olympic break. Wins that included top teams in the Boston Bruins and the San Jose Sharks. The Chicago Blackhawks would be seriously remiss if they were looking past the Buffalo Sabres to future games.
It is almost imperative that the Buffalo Sabres not turn into a streaky hot team, putting together winning streaks of three games here and there like out of the Olympic break for fear of losing the top spot in the NHL draft lottery.