Published by hockeybuzz.com, 11-2-2017
It's not an annual occurrence by any means, but neither is it rare when the Buffalo Bills and the Buffalo Sabres have games on the same night. The Bills are on national TV with a big game at the Meadowlands in New Jersey against the NY Jets while the Sabres are headed to the desert to take on the Arizona Coyotes.
The Bills are eastbound and truckin' into the Meadowlands with a 5-2 record and playoff aspirations. They have a new regime, a new attitude a tone of new players and a recent addition at wide receiver to hopefully get them to the playoffs for the first time since 1999. Buffalo acquired WR Kelvin Benjamin from the Carolina Panthers on Tuesday with a trade that was right up against the trade deadline's 4 pm end. Most think Benjamin will get a few plays in tonight as the Bills try to get one win closer to a playoff spot.
Both the Bills and the Sabres jettisoned their GM and coach at the end of their respective seasons leaving Western New York sports fans to wonder where this was all headed. In addition to the Bills playoff drought, the Sabres haven't made the playoffs since 2011 and the question remained, which team, the Bills or Sabres, will make the playoffs first.
With the Sabres off to a 3-7-2 start, it looks as if the Bills have the inside track. But then again, it's not how you start but how you finish. The Bills have been there before only to go on second-half swoons that left the fan-base crying "Why, Lord!?"
Tonight the Bills kick things off with an 8:30 pm start while the puck drops in Arizona at 10 pm.
The last time both the Bills and the Sabres appeared in primetime was last October 16 with WNY having a good night. The Bills beat the San Francisco 49'ers 45-16 at home while the Sabres took down Connor McDavid and the Edmonton Oilers 6-2 in Edmonton.
A few weeks later on Monday, November 7, the Bills lost a hard fought game in Seattle against the Seahawks while the Sabres were shutout in Boston 4-0.
And, back on November 12, 2015 WNY was happy as they Bills beat the Jets at the Meadowlands 22-17 while the Sabres were in Florida beating the Panthers 3-2.
Word from the morning skate is that Sabres forward Justin Bailey is out with a lower-body injury and that Nicholas Baptiste, who was recently called up, is a game-time decision but probably won't play, according to WGR 550 Radio's Paul Hamilton.
Here's what the lines were reported as by the local media in Arizona:
We're still trying to figure out how Seth Griffith has held on to a spot in the lineup and playing him on the third line doesn't seem to make much sense.
And for those having flashbacks to the 40 games Derek Grant played for Buffalo last season while beating your head against the nearest wall. You're not alone.
And if you've been beating your head wondering why Matt Tennyson continues to skate second-paring minutes on defense, it doesn't look as if there will be a reprieve either. “With the injuries, we’ve had to rely on the other players," said Housley the other day to the gathered media, "and Matt’s done a terrific job."
Find 'X' on wall. Beat head.
The Sabres recalled Taylor Fedun on Tuesday, but it looks as if he'll be in the pressbox tonight and Buffalo will have Justin Falk back in the lineup after he missed the entire season thus far.
John Vogl of The Buffalo News has these defense pairings going tonight:
Robin Lehner looks to be the starter at Arizona.