Game Preview: Tampa Bay Lightning @ Buffalo Sabres


Tonight, Steven Stamkos and his 19 goals come into HSBC Arena with the Tampa Bay Lightning (10-7-2) to take on our Sabres (8-10-3), and it’s a very intriguing matchup for the typical hockey fan. On one hand, you have Tampa Bay, currently 6th in the Eastern Conference, with Stamkos and Martin St. Louis, two of the most dynamic offensive players in the league. On the other hand, you have our beloved Buffalo Sabres, who have suddenly woken up and have gone from worst in the league to tied for 8th in the East. The Sabres have won 3 straight on home ice, extended last night by an exciting 4-2 victory over the Los Angeles Kings. Derek Roy extended his points streak to 7 games with an assist on a beautiful goal by Thomas Vanek, and the club seems to have righted the ship.

In keeping up with previous previews, here’s Who’s Hot, Who’s Not:

Who’s Hot

Tampa Bay:

Steven Stamkos. This center is currently averaging a point per game, and is coming off a game against the Flyers in which he netted a hat-trick in a high-scoring 8-7 victory over the Eastern Conference champs. This kid is the real deal, and if he keeps up his scoring click, he could end up being the scoring champ come season end. The Sabres will have their hands full with this sophomore tonight.

Buffalo:

Derek Roy: 7 straight games with a point. How can he not be hot?

Ryan Miller: Ever since he returned from his “lower body injury”, he’s played extremely well. He seems to have given this team a much needed lift, and he continues to keep this team in games (case in point, last night vs L.A.). As long as Miller stays healthy the rest of the way, this team can continue to push for a playoff spot, and MAYBE challenge for a division crown.

Who’s Not

Tampa Bay:

Dominic Moore: A one time Sabre for 18 games (scoring only 1 goal), he’s struggled to stay on one team for a long period of time. This year, he still continues to struggle, netting only 8 points in 14 games (meaning he’s been scratched for 6 games). Poor, poor Moore.

Buffalo:

Jochen Hecht: *Vomit*…Sorry about that. But he’s only got 2 goals in 21 games. That’s terrible for someone who is expected to score at least 25 goals and be a big offensive contributor.

Notes:

-Miller will start between the pipes tonight for Buffalo, while Dan Ellis will get the nod for the Lightning.
-This game falls in the middle of the 7th set of back to back games (out of a league high 22 sets) for the Sabres this year.
-The Sabres and Lightning are two of 3 teams which have given up a league high 4 shorthanded goals (the other is Colorado)

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5 responses to “Game Preview: Tampa Bay Lightning @ Buffalo Sabres”

  1. Philip says :

    Hecht has never been a 25 goal scorer and hasn’t ever been expected to be. That being said, he’s been tripe.

  2. Dave Sanna says :

    I’ll give you that he’s never been a 25+ goal scorer. But I think he’s had higher expectations with 2 of his last 3 seasons being 20+ goal campaigns. I figured this would be the year that he stepped up and it just hasn’t panned out, especially since he’s been dropped onto a line with McCormick and Kaleta (as we saw last night).

  3. Ryan says :

    Just food for thought, Dave. You get more credibility when you get your facts correct and try to balance raw emotion with raw data. Re: Dominic Moore. .he did score 8 points in 14 games with the Lightning. The other 5 games he missed were due to a groin injury…not for being scratched. Hey! 8 points in 14 outings is better than any other forward on our team has managed to do. So, maybe you should reconsider who is “hot” or “not.
    Have to agree he was not the second coming of Christ. But he did play the last 16 of the 18 games with us with an undiagnosed fractured wrist. And I think he got the short end of the stick with the Sabres.
    And, it’s always fun to watch Gaustad beat up on the little guys, eh?

  4. Dave Sanna says :

    To your point about Moore, I’ll own that and say my bad. The post was somewhat rushed, and so I didn’t have a lot of time to do more in-depth fact checking, which is why I assumed he was scratched, not injured. As far as his term with the Sabres, I’ll give him some props for suiting up injured, which explains his low production, but I’d have rather seen a healthy player (could be from Portland or elsewhere) who could score, instead of an injured guy. I also agree he got the short end of the stick, I think we should have resigned him and seen what he could do healthy.

    I love Paul Gaustad. He should be given a chance to be the Captain of this team. He’s a good motivator, great faceoff man, and he nearly pounded Tanguay on Saturday. It’s totally awesome to watch him fight someone.

  5. Ryan says :

    Fair enough.

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