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Game #65, Sabres @ Wild: Hunger

03/06/11
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Coming off of a season-defining comeback at the Wells Fargo Center against the Flyers, the Sabres visit XCel Energy Center to take on the Wild. But before they even warm up tonight, they’ll know just how much more is at stake.

Jhonas Enroth is expected to get the start as he strives toward his fourth victory of the season, the previous three all coming via the shootout. Mark Mancari is also up this evening to fill in for the injured Mike Grier and Jochen Hecht. My assumption is the top two lines will remain how they ended last night and Mancari will fill in Grier’s vacated spot in the bottom six. Also, no word yet if Mike Weber will return to the ice in and send the deteriorating Shaone Morrisonn to the press box.

Word out of the Wild camp is that Cal Clutterbuck will miss tonight’s game with what assistant coach Dave Barr says is an “upper-body injury” that is said to originate from Trevor Gillies’ hit to the head that earned the Islanders goon a 10-game suspension in his first game back from a 9-game ban.

My three keys to the game, as always, remain forecheck aggressively (raise hell), keep up the pace of the transition game, and always work on the coverage and breakout in the defensive end. It was apparent that the final point was something the Sabres were determined to fulfill last night vs Philly as they came out smart and tight in the 3rd period and locked down their own end after Pominville scored the game winner.

The terms are simple tonight, really. A win means 8th is theirs. A Flyers regulation win means 7th is, too (GP tiebreakers give Buffalo the advantage). The Sabres have been working toward this point all season. They can see what they want and the time has come to take it.

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