Published by hockeybuzz.com, 12-14-2017
Although a four-game points streak won't strike fear into the hearts of teams like...make that any team...it's a positive step for the Buffalo Sabres and head coach Phil Housley isn't about to change that formula. Reports from the rink have Housley sticking with the same lineup he used in Tuesday's win vs. Ottawa as Buffalo hits the ice tonight in Philadelphia for a tilt tonight against the Flyers.
The Sabres finished a three-game road-trip on Sunday and came away with four of a possible six points while going 1-0-2. Had they been able to hold on against the Chicago Blackhawks they could have added a point and conversely, had they not been able to pull off a third-period comeback in St. Louis to overcome a two-goal deficit, they could have lost that one in regulation and lost a point. Buffalo started out their trip with a 4-2 win over the Colorado Avalanche.
The Sabres came home from their trip to face a reeling Ottawa Senators team that was 1-9-2 in their last 12 games, a streak of futility that coincided with their return to North America. Ottawa played in and won two games in Stockholm, Sweden vs. the Colorado Avalanche as part of the NHL's, Global Series. The Senator's stop in Buffalo was the final leg of a seven-game/15-day road trip and the Sabres lead 3-0 heading into the third period and hung on to win 3-2.
The lineup for that game will be the same as they face the Flyers:
Pouliot, Eichel, Pominville
Girgensons, O'Reilly, Okposo
Kane, Rodrigues, Reinhart
Nolan, Larsson, Wilson
Robin Lehner looks to be in net for the Sabres tonight. According to Sabres PR, Lehner is 2-0-2 while stopping 149 of 159 shots (.937 Sv%.)
The Sabres are 4-5-1 in their last 10 games vs. the Flyers, 3-6-1 on the road.
Buffalo has not had a point-streak longer than four games since 2012.
The Sabres were a part of the first-ever Winter Classic outdoor game on January 1, 2008. Former team president Larry Quinn came up with the idea and over 71,000 hockey fans poured into what was then Ralph Wilson Stadium in Orchard Park, NY to watch hockey get back to it's outdoor roots. Although it wasn't the first outdoor game in modern NHL history, snow fell lightly giving the stadium a snow-globe effect and the Pittsburgh Penguins went on to win the game 3-2 in a shootout over the Sabres.
The success of that game has made the Winter Classic an annual event and has spawned more annual outdoor games.
Buffalo is back in the annual event to mark the 10th anniversary of it's inception. Which they should be. And there's nothing wrong with holding it in The Big Apple either, as the Sabres will take on the NY Rangers at Citi Field, home of baseball's NY Mets. Having Buffalo playing on the road as the "home team" is rather ridiculous, but it should be a good matchup.
NHL cameras have been following both the Sabres and the Rangers as they film for a weekly series called The Road to the Winter Classic with the cameras rolling nearly two weeks ago. Unfortunately for the Sabres, they put up back-to-back clunkers in a home-and-home vs. the Pittsburgh Penguins when cameras started rolling. How much of that footage will make it in and how it will be used is yet to be determined and they may not use any of it unless the Sabres make a remarkable turnaround and get themselves on a roll heading into the Classic.
*in a Classic, old-school announcers voice*
"When the Buffalo Sabres lost back-to-back games against the Pittsburgh Penguins (show long faces of Sabres fans) and left KeyBank Center Ice to a chorus of boos (show fans booing,) not many thought they'd be able to summon the courage to bounce back from those infamous two games..."
After that inauspicious start, the Sabres seem to have come to life and have at least given the NHL cameras a couple of victories to work in as well as some highlights. It will be center-stage in The Big Apple and the last thing they want to do is embarrass themselves. The best way to assure they won't do that is to play their assses off come hell or highwater. Which is what they've been doing for the most part, the past four games.
The cameras have been rolling and the first installment of The Road to the Winter Classic aired last night.