Kings @ Sabres, 11/19/10: Through The Fire And Flames
The Sabres are 4-1-1 in their last six games, riding high on the performances of the stars and d-corps. They’re not out of the woods yet, but they’re getting there. It’s going to take Derek Roy’s continued dominance (T-9th in league scoring), both Tyler Myers and Thomas Vanek surging back, and a slew of other contributing factors. But before the team can work back toward leading the division (ok, baby steps first – get back into a playoff spot), some players need to get off the schneid. The entire second line of Jochen Hecht, Tim Connolly, and Jason Pominville need to get their heads out of their arses, Shaone Morrisonn needs to play like the Three Million Dollar Man, and Brian McCutcheon needs to relieve himself from special teams coaching duty. They’re out of frying pan and into the fire, and they have to keep fighting through this to emerge stronger than before.
Just The Facts
Who: Los Angeles Kings
What: The Kings’ (and Ithaca native Dustin Brown’s) only visit to Buffalo this season
Where: HSBC Arena
When: 7:30PM EST
Ennis, Roy, Vanek, Hecht, Connolly, Pominville, Gaustad, Niedermayer, Grier, Gerbe, Ellis, McCormick
Myers, Sekera, Montador, Leopold, Morrisonn, Rivet
King, Kopitar, Brown, Smyth, Stoll, Williams, Richardson, Handzus, Simmonds, Clifford, Lewis, Westgarth
Scuderi, Doughty, Greene, Johnson, Drewiske, Harrold
3 Keys To The Game
1. HCP Needs To Step Up: The second line of Hecht-Connolly-Pominville needs to wake up. Hecht needs to go back to grinding along the walls (or get replaced by Gerbe), Connolly needs to learn how to carry the puck into the zone with speed again, and Pominville needs bifocals or something. The Ennis-Roy-Vanek line and the defense may be scoring, but the Kings won’t be defeated unless depth scoring comes into play
2. Play Team Defense: Without a true shutdown pair anymore, the Sabres will only be able to contain the Kings’ dynamic offensive attack by playing total team defense. This is where Niedermayer and Grier will be able to resurrect their defensive game.
3. Play 60 Minutes: Might as well make this a perma-key. The Sabres would be 5-0-1 in their last six if they showed up in the first period against the Capitals. Instead, they’re 4-1-1. With their newfound speed and cohesion, if the Sabres could play for a full game on a regular basis, they’d be frightening.
Pump Up The Pre-Game Jam