The Buffalo Sabres will host the Anaheim Ducks tonight for their annual visit to Buffalo. The Sabres took down the top team in the Pacific Division on Tuesday and will now turn their focus to the second place team in the division. Buffalo is 5-1-1 against the Pacific this season, which has contributed to their stellar record in general against the Western Conference.
The Ducks enter tonight in the middle of a six-game eastern road trip. They’ve lost the first three games of the trip and are really having a hard time finding the back of the net. The big names like Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry have not produced to the level that was expected of them so far this season. Instead, young players like Rickard Rakell and Jakob Silfverberg have picked up the slack on the scoring end with solid seasons.
On the Sabres end of things, they come into tonight riding high after a thrilling comeback victory against the San Jose Sharks on Tuesday night. They’re 6-0-1 at home in their last seven games and have not lost in regulation in Key Bank Center since Dec. 29 against the Boston Bruins. A win tonight gets the Sabres into the playoff conversation once again with a big game against the Toronto Maple Leafs on the schedule for Saturday night at the Air Canada Centre.
Anaheim Ducks at Buffalo Sabres
Key Bank Center – 7:00 p.m. EST
Broadcast channels – MSG-B & PRIME
2016-17 Season Series: None
Anaheim Ducks – 28-17-10 – 66 Points
Road Record: 11-11-7
Hot Players: Jakob Silfverberg and John Gibson
Key Injuries: Sami Vatanen, Clayton Stoner and Simon Despres
Rickard Rakell – Ryan Getzlaf – Corey Perry
Andrew Cogliano – Ryan Kesler – Jakob Silfverberg
Nick Ritchie – Antoine Vermette – Ondrej Kase
Joseph Cramarossa – Nate Thompson – Logan Shaw
Cam Fowler – Kevin Bieksa
Hampus Lindholm – Brandon Montour
Shea Theodore – Josh Manson
* Lines subject to change
Buffalo Sabres – 22-21-10 – 54 Points
Home Record: 13-8-4
Hot Players: Tyler Ennis and Evander Kane
Key Injuries: Zach Bogosian, Evander Kane (game-time decision), Zemgus Girgensons and Johan Larsson
Tyler Ennis – Jack Eichel – Marcus Foligno
Kyle Okposo – Ryan O’Reilly – Sam Reinhart
Justin Bailey – Evan Rodrigues – Brian Gionta
Nic Deslauriers – Derek Grant – Matt Moulson
Rasmus Ristolainen – Dmitry Kulikov
Jake McCabe – Cody Franson
Justin Falk – Josh Gorges
** Lines subject to change.
[miptheme_dropcap style=”normal” color=”#222222″ background=””]1)[/miptheme_dropcap] Evander Kane is a game-time decision for the Sabres tonight. He crashed into the boards awkwardly after scoring the game-winning goal on Tuesday against the Sharks. He sustained a wrist injury that he indicated this morning felt better than he expected. The expectation is for Kane to sit tonight, but I also wouldn’t rule him out completely. The Sabres recalled Derek Grant and Evan Rodrigues to fill in for Zemgus Girgensons who will be out and Kane if he’s unable to go.
"For the most part it was pretty positive. I'm pretty optimistic moving forward." – Evander Kane, who was limited during skate.
— John Vogl (@BuffaloVogl) February 9, 2017
[miptheme_dropcap style=”normal” color=”#222222″ background=””]2)[/miptheme_dropcap] John Gibson and Robin Lehner will be in goal tonight. Lehner has played extremely well as of late giving up only four goals in his last three starts and having a .966 save percentage over that stretch. Gibson has only won once in his previous four starts with a .907 save percentage.
[miptheme_dropcap style=”normal” color=”#222222″ background=””]3)[/miptheme_dropcap] The Ducks come into tonight really struggling to score goals. They haven’t scored more than twice in their last games and rank 20th in the league in scoring going into tonight. Even more surprising Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry have had a down year in goal production. The two top players for the Ducks have yet to eclipse the ten goal mark on the season.
[miptheme_dropcap style=”normal” color=”#222222″ background=””]4)[/miptheme_dropcap] The Sabres are in an odd part of the schedule where nine of their next 11 games are against the Western Conference. Fortunately, this could mean the club is in for a good month with a 10-4-2 record against the opposing conference this season.
[miptheme_dropcap style=”normal” color=”#222222″ background=””]5)[/miptheme_dropcap] The Sabres special teams has been a bright spot for the team this season and currently ranks third in the league. They scored two goals with the man advantage against the Sharks on Tuesday in three opportunities. The Ducks counter tonight with the fifth-ranked penalty kill.
Chad DeDominicis was born and raised in Buffalo, NY. Chad is currently a Buffalo Sabres contributor for The Hockey Writers. He is an avid sports fan and is passionate about the game of hockey. Chad works hard to share creative and quality content with his readers.