Red and Black Hockey
by David Lee on 02/15/09 at 07:08 PM ET
After two very disappointing home losses, Carolina will venture back on the road for a 6:00 game in Buffalo. The Sabres are currently in eighth place with 64 points while Carolina is in ninth with 59. With the mighty Bruins coming to town on Tuesday, it is absolutely essential to get a win tonight.
While Carolina is five points out of eighth, they’re just eight points behind fourth place Philadelphia, but would find themselves in tenth place behind Pittsburgh if they lose in regulation. Meanwhile, a win would give the Canes some excellent momentum heading into Glen Wesley night on Tuesday. Following that is a six game sequence during which Carolina should get at least eight points.
Last night was devastating. Not just because of the loss, but the way they looked for two games in a row. There is a bit of encouraging news, though. In nine back-to-back situations this season, Carolina has put up a 7-2-0 mark on the back end. However, Carolina hasn’t won at the HSBC Center since game 4 of the 2006 Eastern Conference Final.
The Sabres are without top scorer Thomas Vanek, who suffered a fractured jaw last week. Derek Roy and Jason Pominville will now carry even more of the load. The word on the street is that Sabres coach Lindy Ruff wants to get reserve goaltender Patrick Lalime some action, and Ryan Miller has been slightly less than spectacular in his last three starts, but he’s still the clearcut #1 guy.
On the other side, I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see Michael Leighton start for the Canes. Cam Ward just played two bad games in a row with Leighton doing a good job in relief on Thursday. His last start was the win in San Jose last Saturday. Rod Brind’Amour, who has been looking terrible lately, should be on the fourth line while Brandon Sutter should be centering the third line.
Defenseman Frantisek Kaberle was placed on waivers for the second time yesterday. I haven’t heard anything, and he’s listed on the roster tonight, so I assume that he cleared. I don’t expect him to be in the lineup, though. With any luck, he’ll be with another team by March 4.
As usual with Sabres games, I invite you to visit our friends at BFLO blog for some blue and gold perspective.
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About Red and Black Hockey
David Lee is a restaurant manager with an unused degree in political science. He can be found at Carolina Hurricanes games, Scrabble tournaments and indie-rock shows. Sometimes, all in the same day.