Buffalo Sabres Game Day #8: Three Bold Predictions For Sabres-Canucks

LAS VEGAS, NV - OCTOBER 17: Ryan O'Reilly
LAS VEGAS, NV - OCTOBER 17: Ryan O'Reilly /

The Buffalo Sabres return home to begin a stretch of four games in six nights. Will the team earn its first home W of the season?

The Buffalo Sabres (1-4-2) host the Vancouver Canucks (2-3-1) at the KeyBank Center tonight in what is sure to be a thrilling, crowd-pleasing affair.

Inner self: Ahem. It’s Friday – lay off the sarcasm.

Outer me: Fine. But if the Sabres lose tonight, no more Mister Nice Guy tomorrow!

Okay – tonight’s game features a pair of bottom-10 teams, so we all know what to expect going into this one. The Sabres showed some promise on their recent four-game road trip, but reverted back to their old, lethargic selves for most of Tuesday’s game against the Las Vegas Golden Knights. Meanwhile, the Canucks gave up four goals in the first period last night to the Boston Bruins before losing 6-3 to a team that only had scored 14 goals in its first five games of the season.

The up-and-down Canucks are a beatable team, but how well the Sabres do tonight will be determined by whether the guys inside the locker room come out ready to play. As we reported yesterday, three of the NHL’s top-15 points producers play for the Buffalo Sabres, but the game against the Golden Knights showed fans that this team still is prone to coming out flat and not competing hard enough to put itself in a position to win. How a team that has missed the playoffs six years running can still come out and play flat is beyond most Sabres fans, prompting this conversation on Twitter:

No one is exactly pining for a return to the days of Dan Bylsma, mind you, but it’s not like we have seen a dramatic shift in how players approach the game, either. If the Sabres don’t come out and play 60 minutes of focused, urgent hockey, the Vancouver Canucks are going to wind up looking like a very good team tonight.

Having said that, here are my bold predictions for this context.

Prediction #1: Kyle Okposo will score a goal tonight.

Years ago on this site, we did a Ville Leino goal watch. I feel like Okposo is beginning to approach Leino territory, in that he is a highly-paid free agent who is doing nothing to earn his paycheck right now. Fans should not be too hard on Okposo yet, given the fact that he suffered a concussion last season – we all know there can be long-lasting effects of head injuries. Sports fans can only be patient for so long, though, so I sincerely hope that Okposo can get on the scoresheet tonight.

Prediction #2: Justin Bailey will get at least one point tonight.

Kid is almost certainly skating with Ryan O’Reilly and Okposo. Hopefully he lights a fire under his linemates’ asses.

Prediction #3: Chad Johnson will only allow one goal tonight.

The way Buffalo plays defense? That is one hell of a bold prediction – but I feel it, baby. Granted, the Sabres could still lose 1-0, but I am feeling good about tonight.

Next: Sabres Have Three Top-15 Scorers, So What Gives?

If you are feeling optimistic about the Buffalo Sabres’ chances tonight, chime in below! Otherwise, don’t: positive vibes only!