Game #64, Sabres @ Flyers: Hop, Skip, And A Jump
The Sabres have a grueling weekend ahead of them.
At 1 PM today, they face the East’s best team in the Flyers. Tomorrow at 6 PM, they travel deep into the State of Hockey to take on the Wild. The Flyers represent all that is good in the NHL this season – scoring, defense, a hot young goaltender, and stars with the killer instinct. It’s going to be a beast of a game at the Wells Fargo Center if the Sabres can settle into the groove they had been finding until Thursday’s sloppy loss. While Minnesota may be in 11th, they’re only actually a win away from a tie for 6th. The Wild have been as hard a team to read as they’ve ever been, which makes them dangerous with guys like Mikko Koivu quietly making his teammates around him better.
Same three keys to the game today – establish a dominant forecheck (again, raise holy hell), play a smart, fast transition game, and keep on trying to improve the defensive breakout. It’s simple enough to read it on a blog, but it’ll take a ton of work on the ice to make it happen – especially against Philly.
Jhonas Enroth was recalled last night from the Pirates but it’s as of yet unknown who will make the start today versus wunderkind goalie Sergei Bobrovsky. Logic would state Enroth, who in all of his call-ups this season has yet to ride the pine once.
(Ed. note: WGR is reporting that Miller will start today and Enroth will start tomorrow, while Mike Weber is a healthy scratch. I don’t think any of those decisions are the right one, but I’m not an NHL head coach. With Weber out, Paul Hamilton is reporting Leopold is back on the ice. Jochen Hecht will be scratched as well, opening room for both Niedermayer and Gerbe to play today.)
After playing the Sabres today, the Flyers travel to New York to play the Rangers. The Sabres beating them today would go a long way toward helping their cause, giving Philly a victim to take their anger over losing out on in the Rangers. Four total points are up for grabs this weekend, which would leapfrog the Sabres into sole control of 8th (three points puts them into a winning tiebreaker) with a chance at a tie for 7th (again, winning tiebreaker). All they gotta do is jump.