The Sabres might’ve just had a better European Vacation than Chevy Chase. The Sabres opened the season 2-0 on their European tour. They defeated the Anaheim Ducks 4-1 on Friday and then defeated the Los Angeles Kings 4-2 on Saturday. The Sabres had almost a week off before Friday’s home opener vs. the hated Carolina Hurricanes.
Non-Sabres fans would have a hard time believing that the Sabres could harbor bad blood for the Hurricanes. I mean, who can hate on a southern hockey team? They could relocate tomorrow and 80% of the population wouldn’t notice. But Sabres fans are true Buffalo fans. With memories that can never seem to forget the most painful moments. Game 7 of the 2006 Eastern Conference Finals qualifies as one of those moments.
Fast-forwarding five years to the present certainly makes a difference. The Sabres are almost a 2-1 (-180) favorite against the Hurricanes. Thomas Vanek (and line-mates Jason Pominville and Luke Adams) has gotten of to a fast start with five points through the first two games. Ryan Miller has been rock-solid as usual, only allowing three goals on 63 shots.
There are two important keys for the Sabres against the Hurricanes in this game:
- The Sabres need to solve Hurricanes goalie Cam Ward. Ward has historically killed the Sabres and he’s 2-1 in his last three trips to Buffalo while allowing just over one goal per game. The Sabres need to capitalize on any early power-play opportunities in order to knock Ward out of his comfort zone.
- The Sabres need to keep Hurricanes LW Jeff Skinner in check. Skinner won the Calder Trophy last season and already has five points through the Hurricanes first three games. Skinner is a dynamic playmaker who can can hang with the Sabres excellent team speed.
This is a big night for Sabres fans who are beyond excited about the prospects of their team this season. The pre-season buzz has combined with the unexpected excellence of the Bills to create an incredibly charged sports atmosphere in Buffalo. The fans will be ready to go crazy tonight, and hopefully the Sabres will give them something to cheer for.
Location: First Niagara Center, Buffalo, NY
Date: Friday, October 14, 2011
Time: 7:30 PM ET