Tonight, the Buffalo Sabres will open up the doors to the First Niagara Center in Buffalo to defend home ice against Captain Zdeno Chara and the Boston Bruins.
Unfortunately for the Sabres, there is not a single indication that they are going to come out on top tonight. Not to say that it is impossible, because I have seen stranger things, but…well.
Right now the Buffalo Sabres are currently 1-8-1 this season. This puts them at next to last in the Eastern Conference. The only thing between them and the bottom of the barrel is the Philadelphia Flyers, who are only 1 point behind the Sabres.
On the other side of the ice, the surging Boston Bruins are currently 5-2-0 and coming into this game on a 2-game win streak. The momentum is definitely on their side.
The tale of the tape is a pretty simple one.
|Goals Per Game||2.86||1.2|
|Goals Against Per Game||1.43||2.8|
|Shots on Goal Per Game||32.71||26.7|
|Penalty Minutes Per Game||13.86||11.5|
|Power Play Goals||3||3|
|Power Play Percentage||11.5%||8.6%|
|Penalty Kill Percentage||90%||84.4%|
The clear advantage here goes to the Bruins. They generally outshoot them, and are capitalizing on their opportunities better.
Even if the Sabres do end up with a man advantage during the course of the game, don’t look to intensely for them to score on the power play. While the Sabres have 8.6% on the power play, the next to last in the league, the Bruins are 90% on the penalty kill. This puts the Bruins in second place in the NHL for their PK.
Goal leaders on both sides of the ice are sitting with a total of 3 to their name; center Chris Kelly for the Bruins and left wing Thomas Vanek for the Sabres.
If nothing else, this is going to be an interesting game. The Buffalo Sabres are really going to have to get their act together, if for no one else than their Head Coach Ron Rolston. One would have to imagine that if the Sabres continue on this downward spiral, he will find himself in the same line as former Philadelphia Flyers head coach Peter Laviolette.
In some strange sense, I am kind of pulling for the Sabres here. First of all, everyone loves an underdog story, and how amazing would it be if they were able to pick up their first regulation win against a team like the mighty Boston Bruins. A secondly, and probably mostly, because they are both in the same division as my Tampa Bay Lightning, and a loss for the Bruins tonight would enable the Lightning to take over the Bruins’ position in the standings should the Lightning be able to overcome the defending Stanley Cup Champion Chicago Blackhawks tomorrow night in Tampa Bay.
It will be interesting to see how the night unfolds once the puck drops in Buffalo tonight.
Time: 8:00 p.m. EST
Network: NBCSN, TSN2, RDS2