No one really knows if the Sabres are buyers or sellers just yet. Most fans would lead you to believe they should be sellers. Many members of the media would likely say the same thing. However, it would appear the verdict is still out down at Seymour H Knox III Plaza.
The Sabres sit seven points out of eighth place in the Eastern Conference, the same place they were before their win on Tuesday. As you can tell, this is going to be a difficult journey. Buffalo are well within striking distance of a playoff spot and simply need to continue the run of strong play they have been on since the All-Star break. That evidence alone would lead me to believe that the organization wants to wait before determining what steps they plan on taking on Monday.
Tonight’s game will do a lot for that decision. For that matter, tomorrow’s game carries just about the same weight. If the Sabres end the weekend 0-2, they can all but kiss their chances goodbye and begin to retool on the deadline. If they come away with four points – six points for the week – there will be some careful stepping by Darcy Regier and company when deciding in what direction to move.
The last time the Bruins came to town the Sabres didn’t wilt under the weight of Boston’s physical game. The Sabres pushed back and showed they’re not completely incapable of standing up for themselves. Of course, the Sabres got handled in all three fights. But they didn’t back down.
Buffalo also enjoyed some poor goaltending and cruised to a 6-0 victory. I doubt that the Bruins will come with another poor effort tonight and the Sabres will need to be prepared. Ryan Miller has been playing terrific hockey and needs to extend that streak as it seems obvious the team still rolls with his fortune.
The Sabres simply need another full effort if they hope to win. They have proved they’re capable of playing more than 30 minutes of hockey lately, they just need to carry that swagger into this weekend’s games.
Pat Kaleta vs. Boston. Last time around Kaleta managed to irritate just about every player on the Boston roster. He drew Zdeno Chara into a penalty, threw with Milan Lucic and was generally effective as a pest. I would imagine Claude Julien has his troops prepared to play a more disciplined game tonight. If Kaleta is able to rile the Bruins, it could lead to more success for the Sabres.
BUF: Ryan Miller
BOS: Tim Thomas