Game Preview: Buffalo Sabres vs. Florida Panthers


Tonight, the Buffalo Sabres (12-4-1) play host to the Florida Panthers (7-9-2). This is the second meeting between these two teams this season. The first meeting was an emphatic 5-2 win by the Sabres.

Florida is coming off of a 4-3 shootout loss to the LA Kings. Florida blew a 2-0 lead, allowing the Kings to score 3 unanswered goals. With 5 minutes left in the game, Oreskovich (what a name!) tied it up for Florida sending the game into overtime. Defenseman Jack Johnson was the only shooter to score in the the shootout giving a win to the Kings. Hooray.

The Sabres last played on saturday and won a hard fought game 3-2 over the Philadelphia Flyers. Buffalo got off to a quick start, which we tend to do often, by scoring just 3 minutes into the period. Towards the end of the second period, Tyler Ennis scored his 1st career goal in his 1st career game. I’ve said in the past that he was going to be something special (anyone who scores 85 points in 61 games should be). Philly scored once in the beginning of the third but the Sabres sealed the game with a Paul Gaustad goal. Jeff Carter (who ironically is on my fantasy team) scored for the flyers in an attempt at a comeback but Buffalo held on for the win. Not necessarily a bad game by either team. I would’ve like to see more shots by Buffalo, though. 25 is a bit weak.

And now it’s time for the Hot and Not… As my main man Mike O’Malley used to say: “Let’s kick to Mo for the rules! Mo!”

(in an english accent)

Who’s Hot:

For Buffalo:

Tomas Vanek: Vanek has 5 points in the last 6 games including 2 goals in that span. One of said goals came in last game’s win over the Flyers. Vanek is clearly the best offensive player for the Sabres and a majority of the success of the whole team tends to hinge upon his success. If Vanek scores it seems as though the team does well. For some reason or another, he has become the beacon of light that this team looks to in troubled times. When Vanek struggles, the Sabres often struggle. If he stays healthy and productive, this could be a hell of a season for TV.

Clarke MacArthur: MacArthur has answered the call as of late and is keeping his productivity up. He had an assist last game and has three assists in the last four games. He started the season very goal heavy so it is nice to see him add assists two. His assist total has caught up to his goal total giving him 5 goals and 5 assists for (you guessed it!) 10 points. Watch MacArthur (Park) tonight, he’s looking to put on in.

For Florida:

Steven Reinprecht: Wait… What? Steven who is hot? No. Can’t be. What’s that you say? He’s leading the team in goals? And points? That’s strange… I don’t remember him being good. Oh, that’s right, that’s because he isn’t. Or wasn’t. This season is a completely different story. He has 9 goals in the 18 games that the Panthers have played this season. Through 73 games last year he scored 14 goals. That means that he has more than half of the number of goals this year that he did in the entire season last year. Wow. And just to put this into perspective, Buffalo’s leading scorer (Vanek) has 6 goals. Reinprecht has 9. STEVEN REINPRECHT HAS MORE GOALS THAN ANY OF THE LEADING SCORERS ON THE SABRES. HE’ STEVEN FRIGGIN REINPRECHT. WHAT THE HELL? That’s also one less goal than Sidney Crysby. Weeeiiirrrddd.

Who’s Not:

For Buffalo:

Mike Grier: Now I understand that Grier is not necessarily an elite scorer but he only has three goals this season. That’s a bit pathetic. Oh and he has 0 assists. None. He’s supposed to be a playmaking power forward. That whole playmaking part generally deals with assists. Assists mean that plays are being set up. Just play your game Mike. Work hard and get rewarded. We love players like that here. It’s why we fell in love with you in the first place. He may not play tonight though so we shall see.

Jochen Hecht: Come on man. Really? You’ve played in every single game. You’re a lead by example type. What gives? I’ll tell ya what gives. Chokin’ Jochen has 2 goals and 2 assists. Woo. Jochen needs to step up or step out. He’s supposed to be a veteran presence who adds plays and goals on a conisitence basis. He likes to pride himself on defensive play, but that can only go so far. You’re not Jeremy Roenick, Jochen. You’ve gotta score. For me it’s either step up or step out.

Dick Jauron: Come on, you had to see this coming. In case you didn’t know, I’m also a pretty big Bills fan. So, uh, here’s to you Perry Fewell?

For Florida:

Greg Campbell: Campbell has the potential to be a very good defenseman. He’s shown signs of it in the past. However he needs to put up some points if he wants to do so. Not a ton of points, just some. I say this because his 0 goals and 1 assist really aren’t cutting it. Time to show what you’ve really got Gregory.

Notes:

Thomas Vokoun will be in goal tonight for the Panthers. He is coming off of a close loss so watch for him to try to be on top of his game tonight.

In net for the Sabres will be Ryan Miller who has been the man and the legend lately. He is on the ball and is clearly the top goalie in the league right now. He’s leading the league in save percentage (.939), Goals Against Average (1.77), and wins (12). He’s pretty much the coolest guy ever right now. EVER.

I leave you with this quote from Bryan “Ribbitts” Sibbitts: “Everything is hot in Buffalo right now. The Sabres are playing well, the Bills will be hot soon, the weather is actually nice, hell even in the wings are hot. Oh and go Avalanche!” Yeesh. What a guy.

Game is at 7:00 on MSG

Go Sabres!

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About AndrewTRW

Sabres blogger with a propensity for music and sarcasm. The Ruff Writers dot Wordpress

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