Sunday, February 10, 2008

Sabres/Panthers Preview

The Sabres blew a big game on Friday night after giving up a 2 goal lead in the third period. Up 2-0 heading into the third, the Sabres were outplayed and outshot 17-1, where the Bruins scored 2 goals to tie up the game and eventually win it with a Kessel shootout winner. Hence, the Bruins took away 2 points while the Sabres took 1 and still in 9th place with 58 points. They are looking to make up the ground they lost on the Bruins against the Panthers tonight who are in their own division race themselves. The inept Atlantic Division has the leaders, Carolina Hurricanes, at 58 points while the Panthers are looking up at them with 57 points. They have to go through two other teams to get to the top in the Thrashers and Capitals.

The Sabres will have the services of Tim Connolly after missing the last 13 games. Connolly will still be hobbled by a torn labrum and bone spur in his hip. He looks to play a limited role most likely on the power play and possibly penalty kill but will at least test the hip to see how much he can actually do. With the addition of Tim Connolly, the Sabres end up losing Drew Stafford who left Friday's game with a high ankle sprain. He is currently day-to-day but it is unknown on how long he is actually going to be out. This means that Kaleta will still be playing on the fourth line. Kalinin may also be out with a bruised foot that he suffered Friday as well. If he does not play, Paestch will fill in for him.

On the Panthers side, its a possibility that we see Craig Anderson in net, with Florida playing its second game of a back to back weekend. They won last night against the Bruins 6-3 with Vokoun in net.

With the back-to-back games that the Panthers have played and the travel, they may be a little fatigued. Therefore, the key to this game is going to be getting an early start. The Sabres have had a little rest, but they are coming off 3 games in 4 nights and start another one of those trips with this game. So, at this point in the season every point matters. With that, here are the stats for the game:

Buffalo Sabres Leaders
Goals: Roy (19)
Assists: Pominville (33)
Points: Pominville (47)
Plus/Minus: Paille (+13)
Penalty Minutes: Peters (65)
Minors: Lydman (25)
Majors: Peters (9)

Florida Panthers Leaders
Goals: Jokinen (28)
Assists: Jokinen (29)
Points: Jokinen (57)
Plus/Minus: Booth (+11)
Penalty Minutes: Salei (69)
Minors: Salei (32)
Majors: Booth (9)

Goalie Stats
Buffalo: Miller - 2.40 GAA, .915 SV%, 2 SO; Thibault - 3.78 GAA, .855 SV%, 1 SO
Florida: Vokoun - 2.72 GAA, .918 SV%, 4 SO; Anderson - 2.54 GAA, .918 SV%
Special Teams
Buffalo: Power Play (17.6% - 15th); Penalty Kill (84.3% - 17th)
Florida: Power Play (20.6% - 4th); Penalty Kill (81.4% - 16th)

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