Published by hockeybuzz.com, 3-17-2018
Chicago throws one of the best St. Patrick's Day celebrations in the country and because of it, one might surmise that those playing for the Chicago Blackhawks would much rather be home in the Windy City than playing a last place Buffalo team on the road this afternoon. It's not to say that they'll take the day off, and even if they do it might not matter much against this Sabres team, but the Hawks are in a place we haven't seen them in dating back 10 years.
The 2017-18 Blackhawks are miles away from the team that won the 2015 Stanley cup and look nothing like a modern day hockey dynasty that won three total from 2010-15. This Chicago team has played a lot of hockey in those seasons and also lost a lot of talent because of the salary cap. Even though they still have some pretty good talent in the likes of Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews and Duncan Keith, that nucleus isn't getting any younger. Kane is 29 years old and has played in 811 regular season games, Toews is also 29 with 788 games under his belt and Keith, the elder statesman of the group, is 34 and is 16 games shy of reaching 1,000 games played.
For the first time since 2007-08, Chicago could be outside of the playoffs. Their 30-33-8 record ranks them 23rd in the league and their 68 points is only 12 points ahead of the last place Buffalo Sabres who have a 22-36-12 record.
Regardless, those are the facts as Chicago visits Buffalo for a 1pm puckdrop.
The Sabres season trudges on and despite Buffalo having an 0-7-3 record in their last 10 games against Chicago, they can't be completely written off, especially with the return of Jack Eichel to the lineup. Eichel last played on February 10 after suffering a high-ankle sprain at Boston and still leads the team in scoring despite missing 15 games this season.
According to Joe Yerdon of nhl.com, the Sabres lineup for today:
According to Sabres coach Phil Housley, Chad Johnson gets the start in net.
Happy St. Patty's Day everyone and in the words of Sergeant Phil Esterhaus:
"Let's be careful out there"
And, one more thing, the UB Bulls play Kentucky at 5:15 for a spot in the Sweet 16.