Tonight’s Buffalo Sabres game is the battle of 1970, as the Sabres face the Vancouver Canucks in a 8 p.m. matchup.
TONIGHT’S OPPONENT: VANCOUVER CANUCKS
- Standings: 10th in the Western Conference
- Record: 32-30-10 74 points
- Streak: 1 win (2-0, NSH)
Vancouver isn’t a team that the Sabres see too often, though this is the second meetings of the season between the Sabres and Canucks. Vancouver won the previous meeting, a 3-0 win in Buffalo on October 17.
The Canucks team facing the Sabres tonight is a bit different from the one that faced Buffalo way back in October. The biggest change is the departure of goaltender Roberto Luongo to the Florida Panthers. Now, the Canucks goaltending tandem is Eddie Lack and Jacob Markstrom.
Being thrown into the starting goaltending role is no picnic, but Lack has taken to it. He’s 13-14-4 on the season and has four shutouts, including one last Wednesday. Lack is expected to start in goal tonight against the Sabres.
Like the Sabres, the Canucks have had to deal with their fair share of injuries. One of their leading scorers, Ryan Kesler, is a game-time decision for tonight. He returned to practice on Saturday after suffering an injury in a knee-on-knee with Jim Slater on March 12.
Daniel Sedin is back tonight from a lower-body injury, but Alex Burrows is out with a hand injury after he was slashed by Shea Weber in Wednesday’s game. The Canucks can’t seem to catch a break when it comes to injuries, and for a team that’s still trying to make it into a playoff spot, it just makes things that much more difficult.
Despite the injuries, the Canucks still have a host of dangerous players, including Henrik Sedin. Henrik leads the team with 46 points this season, including a team-high 36 assists. His brother has 40 points on the season.
Kesler is the Canucks’ leading goal scorer with 22 goals, so his absence in tonight’s game could give the Sabres a little reprieve. Kesler also leads the Canucks in power-play goals (8) and game-winning goals (5).
Jason Garrison leads Canucks defensemen with 32 points (7-25) in 72 games.
The Canucks are currently fifth in the Pacific Division with 74 points and a record of 32-30-10 on the season. They’re coming off a 2-0 win over the Nashville Predators on Wednesday, but haven’t played since then. They face a four-game week beginning with tonight’s game stint against the Sabres.
Although they continue to struggle with injuries, the Canucks are still in the playoff race, so every game is crucial from this point forward if they hope to get into a playoff spot by the time the regular season ends next month.
Tags: Vancouver Canucks