The Morning Skate: Weekend series capped with visit from Bolts

The only thing the Buffalo Sabres need to be worried about at this moment is winning hockey games. They started too far out of the playoff hunt to discuss games in hand or how far behind they are from the team’s they’re chasing. Just winning games and getting points is all that should matter.

Tonight’s game against Tampa Bay presents the chance for a clean weekend sweep of four points and to continue the run of good hockey the team has played since the All-Star break.

The Lightning are a rested bunch. They played Thursday in New York, stayed in Buffalo all day yesterday and will have had plenty of time to rest as they prepare for this evening’s tilt. Tampa lost Thursday’s game in overtime 4-3.

While Buffalo did go a full 65 minutes last night, they didn’t do too much work in the opening 40 minutes of play. Hopefully there is some gas in the tank for tonight. Add in the fact that Luke Adam will be inserted in the place of Cody McCormick, which provides a fresh set of legs.

Buffalo has not played Tampa well this season. They were shutout in Florida before dropping a 4-3 loss on the return trip in Buffalo. Tonight’s game has a lot more weight behind it than the previous two meetings. Then the Sabres were still riding the cushion of their strong start. Now they are a desperate bunch in need of a long win streak.

Highlighted Matchup

Buffalo’s forwards vs. Tampa’s trap. The Sabres had trouble engaging offensively last night as Dallas choked out the neutral zone. Tampa will do that, and more tonight. The Sabres were able to dump and chase yesterday but will not have the same luxury tonight with more fatigue weighing them down. The Sabres still need to effectively break the trap to win tonight.

Projected Goaltenders

BUF: Jhonas Enroth

TBL: Mathieu Garon

Last Meeting

Sabres 3 – Lightning 4, First Niagara Center, 10/25/2011


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