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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
-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)