Buffalo Sabres Look To Change Road Woes


Buffalo just can’t seem to tame the Panthers, eh?

After the Buffalo Sabres fell victim to a hot Florida Panthers team in a 2-0 loss, they headed out immediately for a showdown in the Big Apple, facing off against the New York Rangers tonight at 7 p.m.

Jan 2, 2015; Buffalo, NY, USA; Florida Panthers right wing

Scottie Upshall

(19), Florida Panthers center

Derek MacKenzie

(17) and Buffalo Sabres center

Zemgus Girgensons

(28) go after a loose puck during the third period at First Niagara Center. Florida beats Buffalo 2 to 0. Mandatory Credit: Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports

Michal Neuvirth was given the start, making 31 saves on 33 shots, but Buffalo’s stifled offense and scattered defense proved to be the achilles heel. Neuvirth’s numbers were raised a bit, raising his save percentage to .911.

After what looked to be a better run for Buffalo has quickly taken a turn for the worst, with Buffalo showing anemic play both on the road and at home. Home has been a bit better, but it’s starting to get ugly again.

But the home woes will have to take a back seat to the road woes, as Madison Square Garden is the stage tonight. Tonights game will be the first of three match-ups against the Rangers, and also the start of a four game road trip, where the focus is turning the tables on what ails them in an opponents house.

Buffalo is drawing closer to the McEichel standings, as per the wish of a good portion of fans. Going on a 1-6-1 skid over the last eight games, Buffalo continues to topple down the standings. With Edmonton just six points below, it’s a mystery what the standings will read come April.

Over the past nine games, Buffalo has managed to squeeze at least a point out of seven games with a 4-2-3 record in MSG. This, however is nulled by the Rangers commanding an 8-2 record in the past 10 games against Buffalo. Riding on the heels of a four-game losing streak against New York, Buffalo will try to prevent their first five-game skid against the Rangers since 1995.

Buffalo will be facing a red-hot Rangers team, who are rolling with a 9-1 record in the past 10 games.

As for the injury depletion that took over the Sabres locker room, Tyler Myers is still out of the lineup and still on IR, he is potentially returning for Tuesday’s game against the New Jersey Devils. Brian Gionta is still feeling effects of whatever has been keeping him out of the past five games. Torrey Mitchell and Marcus Foligno are still on IR.

Buffalo was lucky enough to have Rasmus Ristolainen return after his battle with the flu. Ristolainen found himself apart from his normal line-mate Nikita Zadorov. Zadorov continued to struggle a bit without his partner, but it’s likely the two will be paired up again tonight.

Not much is known about how Buffalo will line up, given that the Harlem Globetrotters using MSG at noon will prevent either team from participating in a morning skate.

Jhonas Enroth is in net, who was given rest after the injury prone defense has contributed to his dip in play in recent games. He will be opposite Henrik Lundqvist for the Rangers.

The team will rely heavily on Drew Stafford and Tyler Ennis, who have found success against the Rangers. Stafford has points per game over the past eight games against New York, and Ennis has 13 points in 14 games (4 G, 9 A) against New York. Of those eight points, Stafford has seven goals.

Zemgus Girgensons has been held without a point for two straight games, so expect him to come out firing.

Josh Gorges continues to be a shot blocking fiend, second only to Kris Russell of the Calgary Flames. Gorges 103 blocked shots is impressive, considering he has missed nine games with injury and still remains high on the list.

Tune in at 6:30 for the Buffalo Sabres pre-game, face-off is 7 p.m.

More from Sabre Noise