Bolts @ Sabres, 11/20/10: Be Quick And Just Shred
Did you know the Sabres are 5-1-1 in their last seven games? They’re rolling pretty strong right now, but as Corey Griswold pointed out in his post for the Roost this morning, they’re still in 11th even though they’re tied for 8th. Their opponent tonight? The high-flying, high-scoring 6th place Tampa Bay Lightning. Led by Steven Stamkos and his absurd 1.79 points-per-game, the Bolts are an offensive juggernaut this year. With Lindy Ruff tight-lipped about his defensive line-up for this game, could Craig Rivet see himself pulled back out of the action after a bad night? If the Sabres win this one, they can move into 8th. If they lose in extra time, they can still move into 8th but it’s unlikely. If they lose in regs, many hairs will be pulled out of heads tonight. Regardless of how well both teams have been performing, since the lockout ended the Sabres have had the Bolts’ number. Tonight the Sabres need to go out there, play sound team defense, cover Stamkos on the kill, be quick and just shred.
Just The Facts
Who: The Tampa Bay Lightning
What: The Bolts’ first visit to Buffalo this season sees Stamkos continue to try and score 50 on 50.
Where: HSBC Arena
When: 7PM EST
Ennis, Roy, Vanek, Hecht, Connolly, Pominville, Gerbe, Niedermayer, Grier, McCormick, Gaustad, Kaleta
Leopold, Montador, Myers, Sekera, Morrisonn, Weber (speculation)
St. Louis, Stamkos, Downie, Purcell, Moore, Malone, Harju, Wright, Tyrell, Hall, Thompson, Bergenheim
Kubina, Lundin, Hedman, Clark, Jones, Ohlund
3 Keys To The Game
1. Special Teams Have To Produce: The Bolts are a high-scoring team and the Sabres will need to put up points on their PP in order to take them down. On the other end of the spectrum, the Sabres’ PK will be tested and tested often by the Stamkos PP unit. His spot on the right is a lethal shooting spot, and the Sabres have to keep it defended.
2. Play Your Game: The Sabres have discovered that both top defensive pairs have the ability to wheel and deal on the rush and on the back-check, giving their forward lines bolstered numbers. The Bolts don’t have that kind of transition game, so the Sabres need to exert their will in the netural zone. Look especially to Montador and Sekera, who are playing with ridiculous confidence at the moment.
3. Play 60 Minutes: Again, the Sabres took a period and a half off against the Kings. Luckily, they were tied going into the crucial third period against the West’s leader and found two goals to seal the deal. The Sabres need to come out strong and stay strong in order to win a track meet against the Bolts.
Pump Up The Pre-Game Jam