Saturday, March 21, 2009

Peepin' Foes: Buffalo Sabres

Sorry about the delay on this, I had some work today and then was completely obssessed with the series finale for Battlestar Galactica. As someone who grew up loving the original and then revering it's revival, I have to say that they did a soso job ending it. But that is neither here nor there. What is here is a huge weekend for the Rangers with back-to-back games - first the Sabres on Saturday and then the Sens on Sunday. The fact that the Blueshirts can make a legit claim to home ice advantage by sweeping these two games is scary, especially with the playoff ticket costs how bad this team was just a few weeks ago.

Where We Are: Veni, vidi, victum: I came, I saw, they conquered (I think that's right, online translators suck). The Rangers edged out the Habs in the talent competition on Tuesday to take two points away from Montreal. That's six wins in the last eight games and sit in seventh place in the East, one point behind Carolina and four behind Pittsburgh and Philly. Philly has a game in hand on the Rangers while the Blueshirts have two games in hand on the Canes and Pens. A first round 4-5 against Philly is a scary thought but one that can be entertained with just 11 games left (and the last two against the Flyers? What drama!).

Where They Are: Without Ryan Miller, the Sabres are in desperate need for some wins if they are to make the playoffs. They slipped down to 10th and trail eighth place Montreal by five points. Tonight they got bit by Briere for two goals that turned a 3-2 lead into a 4-3 deficit - if only Chris Drury can have the same impact against his former team tomorrow ...

Who To Watch For: Former Ranger Dominic Moore had a goal and an assist in that loss to the Flyers, snapping a six game scoreless streak. Bobblehead Tim Connolly got that fat paycheck last month and has just two assists in his last six games. Derek Roy and Thomas Vanek are as dangerous as always, as I am sure Patrick 'Killer' Kaleta is. Hopefully he manages not to severely injure any Rangers and the Blueshirts avoid going out of their way to hurt him.

What To Watch For: If the Rangers relent and give Roy or Vanek room to create, watch out. They are two extremely skilled players and they have been able to get the puck past Hank in the past. It is doubtful that the Sabres would go hunting for Scott Gomez as he is the one who collided with Miller (and got my first star for it) but if the game gets out of hand for the Rangers (one can only hope), it is a definite possibility.

What We'll (Hopefully) See: It will be Saturday night hockey in New York so perhaps the Garden can get rocking with a another strong effort from the boys. Let's hope that Sean Avery can continue to keep his emotions in check and play smart hockey as the Sabres can key on him and get him frustrated. They pretty much took him out of the second round playoff series two seasons ago. Buffalo brawler Andrew Peters hardly plays anymore so a heavyweight tilt against Colt is quite doubtful.

Also Check Out: Sabres Insider, Sabres Not Slugs! and SBN's Die By The Blade.

No comments: