The Morning Skate: Playoff position on the line in Winnipeg

After two months of poor hockey and numerous losses, the Sabres are in a position to get back into a playoff spot against Winnipeg. With a regulation win the Sabres will be in a tie for eighth place. A win tonight would be another major step in an impressive, improbable turnaround.

Ryan Miller will be back in net again tonight. His game has been in phenomenal shape as of late, but I fear that his endurance is running low after a full run of hockey since the All Star break. In the one game he had off, he played 30 minutes after Jhonas Enroth was pulled in Philadelphia.I don’t doubt Miller will still have a strong outing, I just wonder if he had been better rested if his play would be that much better. I suppose this is still in line with the goaltending schedule.

Buffalo needs a 60-minute effort. They had three tough games on little rest on the West coast, tonight’s game comes after some rest for a road weary team. The Sabres top line has been absent as of late and that needs to change immediately. Without the production of Vanek and Pominville, the mountain that is the playoff race gets that much steeper.

Highlighted Matchup

Vanek/Roy/Pominville. This line has been slumping for a short period of time. It is my opinion that Derek Roy has negatively impacted the play of his two wingers. Regardless of the true cause of this slump, it needs to be snapped. Vanek and Pominville have been Buffalo’s MVPs all season. Tonight would be a great day to for them to turn a corner.

Projected Goaltenders

BUF: Ryan Miller

WPG: Ondrej Pavelec

Last Meeting

Sabres 1 – Jets 4, MTS Centre, 1/19/2012

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