Is tonight’s game a must win? Let’s set the scene:
Ottawa is a complete mess, their head coach is fired, their GM is answering questions about every move he’s made since Muckler left, and they have one line that can score. Their starting goaltender is in Binghamton, fans are talking about John Tavares, and there is 19 points between the two teams.
Yeah, tonight is a must win. Simply put, the Sabres are good enough to beat a team like Ottawa no matter what happened last night, and they need the points against an easy opponent. I don’t think anyone is all that scary outside of Heatley, Spezza, and Alfredsson; and one line teams don’t beat the Sabres anymore.
There is the potential for a letdown game tonight, but I don’t think we’ll see that from this team tonight. Consider this: the Sabres are finishing up the most brutal part of the schedule tonight. A win tonight puts them even further up the standings, and with the same Ottawa team in town on Wednesday it would be difficult to see that as a loss, either. Four points against a weak opponent does wonders for a team’s confidence, and I just don’t see the Sabres slipping up tonight.
If the Sabres win tonight we may look back on this week as the one that propelled them into the playoffs. Beating teams within the division is always huge, and this stretch is just so important because of who is on the other bench. The Sabres showed they can beat good teams last night, so there shouldn’t be a problem against an awful team like Ottawa. There are no ghosts left from that Cup run, just a group of players in disarray and very little leadership.
There is lots of action in the NHL tonight, so we could see the standings look completely different. We’ll be here tomorrow morning to sort through it. For now, sit back and enjoy the most awkward home and home series in the history of the NHL.
7PM from Scotiabank Place. I expect good things, and you should, too.