Buffalo’s own Patrick Kane and the Chicago Blackhawks roll into HSBC arena tonight to take on the Sabres. The Blackhawks are hoping to collect two point and their first win against the Sabres, who gave a pitiful effort against the New York Rangers this past Saturday.
The Sabres lost on Saturday simply because they were being way too fancy with the puck. The bump and grind that worked so well against Ottawa apparently wasn’t good enough for them to try it again on Saturday. There were way too many cute plays trying to be made when an easier option was obviously available. The Sabres should stop worrying about being fancy in front of the home crowd and just grind out a win just like they did to the Senators.
Who’s hot?: Derek Roy scored again on Saturday, giving him three goals on the season. Tyler Ennis has assisted on all of Roy’s goals. Jordan Leopold netted two on Saturday as well.
Who’s not?: Thomas Vanek is a huge culprit of trying to be too cute, even in Ottawa. He’s trying to put it behind his puck off of a shot, or make an impossible pass. What does he have to show for it? A goose-egg in the points column.
Buffalo Powerplay: 2/10 (20%), T-10th in the NHL
Buffalo Penalty Kill: 8/8 (100%). T-1st in the NHL
The Sabres Will Win If: They don’t try to impress anybody with sweet moves, and instead impress the fans by grinding out a win. Getting shots to the net will be key against the Blackhawks’ rookie netminder. Making the pass is only acceptable if a shot is unavailable. Basically, just follow Jordan Leopold’s lead.
Chicago may be regretting not making a little bit of room for Antti Niemi on their roster. Marty Turco is showing that he’s still the same Marty Turco who played last season. Puck Daddy blog has a running joke about Turco’s gaping five hole. Unfortunately for the Sabres, Turco will not be in the net tonight. Instead, Corey Crawford gets the nod. On top of that, Chicago is hurting without the role players that helped them win a Cup, and I expect that to hurt for a little while until everyone gets used to each other.
Who’s Hot?: Marian Hossa has three points in two games for the Hawks.
Who’s Not?: Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews each have only one point and are a combined -3. Marty Turco has a dismal 3.41 GAA and a .896 save percentage. His stats make him jealous of the stats Patrick Lalime has over the past two seasons.
Chicago Powerplay: 3/12 (25%), T-8th in the NHL
Chicago Penalty Kill: 5/7 (71.4%), T-24th in the NHL
The Blackhawks Will Win if: They can get production out of Kane and Toews, and solid goaltending out of newcomer Corey Crawford. If Buffalo is cute with the puck, Chicago can take advantage of that with odd-man rushes that usually are the outcome of the Sabres getting too fancy.