It has been a long while since the Sabres won two in a row. They have a chance to do that tonight at the Prudential Center, a building this team has had some success in.
Perhaps the only obstacle Buffalo will face occupies the six inches between their ears. The Sabres have gotten healthy in the past week and suddenly have a lineup that is worthy of skating at the NHL level. Brad Boyes brought quite a bit of skill to the lines that don’t include Thomas Vanek or Jason Pominville and Jochent Hecht offered Lindy Ruff a real NHL center. Now, Hecht still isn’t the answer for Buffalo’s top line, but he is certainly a better option than Paul Szczechura.
The key for Buffalo this evening will be to get an early lead on this Devils team. Marty Broduer is not himself this season. He has very pedestrian numbers which need to be exploited. The Sabres allowed Brodeur to settle in last time the teams played and the future Hall of Famer made them pay. An early goal and controlling the play would go a long way to earning two points tonight.
Buffalo power play vs. New Jersey penalty kill. The Devils have a group of six defensemen that many teams would envy. Anton Volchenkov is a shot blocking machine, Bryce Salvador is good all over, Adam Larsson is a budding superstar and the rest of the unit follows suit. The Devils penalty kill is lethal (thanks TBN) and the Sabres power play has managed to heat up over the past few games. The newly active power play has put up good numbers and could be the difference tonight.
BUF: Ryan Miller 20 GP 9-8-2, 3.05 GAA, .904 SV%
NJD: Martin Brodeur 20 GP 9-9-0, 3.06 GAA, .884 SV%