Tonight the Sabres face a Southeast division opponent just two points behind them in the playoff race. Hrm, this sounds familiar. Buffalo finishes off the pre-All Star schedule with a Florida road trip, starting in Sunrise against the Panthers. This is a pretty solid team that Buffalo has struggled with already this year, and they never seem to play well on the road against Florida.
Goaltending seems to be the strength in Florida, with Craig Anderson listed as the starter ahead of Thomas Vokoun. Vokoun has a .500 record and has struggled with injuries, but I’d take that kind of talent in the backup role any day. Anderson’s .930 GAA is good for third in the league, and he took care of business last time Buffalo was in town with 45 saves in a 2-1 win.
Even with all that goaltending, it’s still pretty surprising that no one on the Panthers has 30 points yet this season. David Booth leads the team with 29 points, and defenseman Jay Bouwmeester is third on the team with 26 points. Larry Quinn’s favorite Panther only has 25 points on the season, which makes Derek Roy look pretty great by comparison.
It will be interesting to see how the Sabres play against Florida for a number of reasons. There has been very little downtime for this team over the last week, and with a very shallow blue line playing a very good goaltender, this could go very bad very quickly. If they can build off of a great performance at home they can get two very important points, but we’re not out of the woods with this team just yet.
I’ve heard a lot of people expect a split out of this road trip. I don’t think that’s good enough, but if there’s a game to lose it would be this one tonight. That doesn’t sould all that optimistic, but I do know I’m excited to see what Vanek and Connolly can do tonight.
Bfloblog has what I missed, as per usual. Although I’m less excited about 24 and more excited about Syracuse/Pitt.