Buffalo Sabres Pregame Versus Arizona Coyotes


The Buffalo Sabres have the game of the season on the line tonight as they face off against the Arizona Coyotes. In the battle for last place, and the top shot at drafting super prospect Connor McDavid, the Buffalo Sabres currently hold a 6 point lead (and have one game in hand). Tonight will spell either a furthering of that gap, or a closure of it.

For many Buffalo Sabres fans, the furthering of that gap is what is desired (as it was made perfectly clear by their jeers and cheers at First Niagara Center at the last game featuring these two teams).

The Arizona Coyotes are coming off of a controversial game against the Pittsburgh as captain Shane Doan flattened Kris Letang and gave him a concussion. This means that, despite their fans view of “tanking”, the Yotes are still playing every game hard and are looking to win.

Buffalo Sabres Scope

Now I’m not sure how many people would be able to guess this if I asked it as a question. If I asked you what Buffalo Sabre currently holds a positive plus-minus, would you have been able to tell me that it was Johan Larsson?

That’s right, Larsson is currently the only Buffalo Sabres player that has played the majority of the season and still has a positive plus-minus. He has a +2 for his rating and that needs to be credited to his creative two way abilities. This is the reason he has found himself on the first line as of late, and Phil Varone has dropped to the third line in the wake of Zemgus Girgensons‘ injury.

Larsson has the playmaking ability and scoring ability that has helped him be a positive possession player on a terrible team, but it’s his defensive responsibility and back checking effort are what stand out most. It is this skill that will be a key element to tonight’s game (and to Larsson’s future career here in Buffalo).

With Tyler Ennis still out of the lineup, he will be looked to to step up and play the role he needs to.

Coyotes Scope

With the message being the same that is was last game against the Sabres, we can expect nothing less than a back and forth battle tonight from the Arizona Coyotes. Leading them into battle will be Shane Doan as he is maintaining full control of his team while also showing his frustration with the direction they are headed.

Despite that, he and young defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larssonwill lead the charge against the Buffalo Sabres tonight.


I think that the Buffalo Sabres will edge out the Coyotes tonight by a narrow score of 2-1. The Arizona offense is still struggling and Anders Lindback has been solid for Buffalo since coming here from Dallas.

So long as Buffalo is able to contain the limited offense and take advantage of the huge holes in the Arizona defense they will have a good shot at winning. Arizona leaves their slot open for a player to take a strong net front presence, and someone (cough cough Matt Moulson) should make their way to that spot to score a couple tonight.

The game starts later at 10:00pm EST.


Next: The Future Of The Buffalo Sabres Defense

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