Buffalo Sabres PreGame Skate #4: Tampa Bay Lightning


The Buffalo Sabres now sit at 15th in the Eastern Conference. With the team sitting at 0-3-0, something has to change.

With offense almost completely absent and a defense that is basically transparent the question posed is: At what point does everything begin to click? With the Sabres coming home tonight to face the Tampa Bay Lightning tonight at 7:30 on national tv, who are currently 1-1-0, is this the game where we break open and play the best hockey we can?

How does a team that does so well in the preseason start the regular season suffering?

Oct 5, 2013; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Buffalo Sabres goalie Jhonas Enroth (1) makes a save against Pittsburgh Penguins center Dustin Jeffrey (17) during the third period at the CONSOL Energy Center. The Pens won 4-1. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

All signs are pointing to Jhonas Enroth getting the nod to start in net at this moment, Ryan Miller stayed on the ice after practice to get an extra workout. Matt Hackett returned to Rochester on a goalie exemption yesterday and Miller will serve as Enroth’s backup for tonight’s game.

Ron Rolston assured the media that Miller suffered a minor injury and nothing serious, which is relieving considering Miller’s numbers through two games this season, setting aside 77 of the 80 shots he has faced. Miller did practice Monday, skating on the ice on his own after practice testing out the injury and how it is fairing him for the upcoming games.

Good news coming as of late involving Marcus Foligno, Foligno dressed in full uniform yesterday, participating in full drills today and is preparing to make his season debut tonight against the Bolts. Foligno has been out since September 22nd when he sustained a shoulder strain against the Toronto Maple Leafs. Bringing back Foligno is a breath of fresh air for the Sabres, looking to start getting back on track.

Cody Hodgson gave the media a scare yesterday after missing practice. It was confirmed later on that Hodgson took a “maintenance day” to nurse a small lower body injury that Rolston told them he wouldn’t miss any more time.

Zemgus Girgensons took to the first line in practice yesterday, taking the wing along with Tyler Ennis and Thomas Vanek. Steve Ott will make the first line along with Vanek and Hodgson, while Foligno took reps with Ennis and Stafford.

On Tampa Bay’s side, they have goaltending that may cause problems for the struggling Buffalo offense. Ben Bishop played an excellent game against the Chicago Blackhawks, stopping 39 shots to back his team en route to a 3-2 shootout victory. Anders Lindback started in net for the Bolts’ first game, dropping to the Boston Bruins, 3-1.

Bishop was first off the ice today at practice, which is no surprise after his impressive showing, so if the indicators prove correctly, Bishop will be in net tonight.

Tampa Bay’s offense is led by the high powered duo of Steven Stamkos and Martin St. Louis, who both have two points coming into tonight’s game. New acquisition Valtteri Filppula is quickly getting into the groove with Tampa, registering a goal in Saturdays game.

Last season, Stamkos led the Lightning with two goals and an assist in three games against the Sabres.