Buffalo Sabres PreGame Skate #13: Tampa Bay Lightning


Another set of back to back games last night, as the Buffalo Sabres continue their trip through the state of Florida trying to get something going

Oct 8, 2013; Buffalo, NY, USA; Buffalo Sabres defenseman Mike Weber (6) and Tampa Bay Lightning center Nate Thompson (44) collide for a hit during the third period at First Niagara Center. Tampa Bay beats Buffalo 3 to 2 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports

in the so far young and very unproductive season.  With last nights game against the Florida Panthers – The Buffalo Sabres are looking for their second win in a row for the second time this season.  The opponent this time, is one the Buffalo Sabres have seen before, and gotten a point from – in the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Jhonas Enroth got the start last night – so no doubt Ryan Miller will get the nod for the game against the Tampa Bay Lightning – although after last night’s effort, Enroth has proved that he can be the man for this team and keep them competitive in a game long enough for the team to win – why not try him on back to back nights?

Buffalo started out against Tampa Bay well – the game on the October 8th looked like one the Sabres were going to win, they scored first, they scored third – and they had a goal disallowed, and a bad penalty called to erase any momentum the team had – and they cracked under the pressure and succumbed to the Tampa Bay Lightning in front of a home crowd. Jhonas Enroth was the starting goalie for that game as well.

Being in Florida is different, last night it appeared there were more Buffalo Sabres fans in attendance than, well not only Florida Panther fans in Florida, but also some Sabres home games as of late.  The same might be true tonight as the Sabres try and grab another victory in the state of perennial snowbirds and retirees.  A winning streak on top of some better play by our rookies might be what this team needs to snap the funk – and play some better hockey.

Tampa Bay is adjusting nicely to life in the big Atlantic division – they have crashed out the gate and stormed to a 6-3 record in their division, good enough for fourth place so far.

Not helping the Sabres is the injury front – wth 55 games lost due to injury (Tropp and Armia have yet to don a sweater in a regular season game) add at least another 15 games for suspensions (Kaleta’s ten game suspension, and Scott will sit at least five) and the Sabres have been roster juggling for 70 games already.  Now we wait for the update on Mike Weber to see if he will be ready to go or if he will miss time.

Tonight’s game is set for 7PM on MSG.  With Kaleta and Scott continued absence in the lineup, continue to look for the grittier play to come from McCormick and Ott – something that I have actually liked seeing.  McCormick wasted no time in jumping on a puck he didn’t realize had already been in the net, and then defending himself over it.  While I like to see the tougher side of Ott’s play – I think he needs to have the C taken off him to be truly effective.  As we have talked about the image on this site before – I don’t think it helps the image of the Buffalo Sabres that we have a captain that plays that style.

Tampa comes into tonight with only three losses, all coming against the Boston Bruins and Pittsburgh Penguins – so tonight will be a difficult task for the Sabres.