December a Make or Break Month for the Sabres
Tonight begins a very important month for the Buffalo Sabres when the red hot Detroit Red Wings visit the First Niagara Center. The interesting part of this matchup is that these two teams could have a similar situation occur. In October the Wings were struggling to score goals and pilled up a long losing streak. Datsyuk and Zetterberg were ice cold and people started to talk about the Wings finally hitting the wall. Not the case in November the Wings became red hot and so did Datsyuk and Zetterberg. Now in November if you look at the Sabres they have had problems scoring with Roy, Leino, Gerbe, and Stafford going ice cold. With the new month of December beginning could the Sabres see a Detroit or Boston type month? Tonight would be a good start for confidence. Tyler Ennis is back, as well as Ryan Miller in a backup situation. Miller will probably get his first look at action since the Lucic hit tomorrow night in Nashville. With the health of the team getting better and the new infusion of young talent in Kassian and McNabb, I can see this team having a fantasic month and being back on top of the NE division.
On the other side of the coin should the Sabres continue to struggle, they could slide right out of the top 8 and possibly out of playoff contention. They have a lot of divisional games this month as well as conference games against top 8 teams. Stafford, Roy, Leino, and Miller need to have a good month or we could start to see their names appear in trade rumors more as the deadline approaches. In Leino's case his contract would be untradeable but could cause a benching if his drought doesn't end.
I look forward to see Datsyuk play tonight, as good as he is I think he is one of the most underrated players in the NHL and he shows it every year in the playoffs when the entire hockey world is watching. He has slick hands and lightning quick shot. Enroth will need his "A" game tonight to handle Datsyuk and Enroth's fellow Sweedish country men.
Post game thoughts to come tomorrow.