It feels like opening night again, with the anticipation of seeing the debut of Cody Hodgson tonight. The ironic twist is that the Anaheim Ducks are the opponets tonights like on opening night in Helsinki. Hockey Heaven is buzzing about tonights game and the rest of the season for that matter. Tonight's game features two of hottest teams in the NHL fighting for a furious come back to make the playoffs. The Sabres are 8-3-3 in their last 14 and the Ducks are 9-3-2 in their last 14.
The last time these two teams met on opening day in Finland, Buffalo cruised to a 4-1 W. Also another story line to this matchup is that the last time Bruce Boudreau coached the Washington Capitals was at the First Niagara Center. The Sabres down 9 regulars would smoke the Caps 5-1 being the final straw for Boudreau in DC. He should have his boys up for tonight's game seeking some revenge.
The Sabres are facing a whole different animal tonight than what they faced on October 7th. Perry, Getzlaf, and Ryan have all returned to form. Also Teemu Selanne is a machine and is showing no signs of aging. Also a different Jonas Hiller will be between the pipes tonight. He has reboundedwell from his slow start. Coach Boudreau has his team clicking on all cylinders and is showing he was not the problem in DC.
Something else that will be curious to watch is the performance of Ryan Miller tonight. He expressed his displeasure yesterday of Gaustad being traded. Goose was one of Miller's best friends on the team and they grew up together. I can understand his disappointment, but some of his comments were eyebrow raising. See some comments here in an article by WGR 550 Sports Radio http://wgr550.com/Sabres-Miller-angry-about-Gaustad-trade/12404220.
To the big story line tonight Cody Hodgson will make his Sabres debut tonight. He traveled to Buffalo from Phoenix yesterday to get his physical and visa in order. Then flew back to the west coast to join his new mates in Anaheim. He may be a bit jet lagged, but I expect he will have some jump in his step tonight in his debut. Now I'm not going to pretend to know a ton about Hodgson, I don't take in many Canucks games, but I have heard great things about him that have Sabres fans buzzing. Ruff said he wanted to slate CoHo into a top 6 role and minutes. He is expected to slot in between Stafford and 2009 world juniors teammate Tyler Ennis.
Kassian made his debut last night with the Canucks and played 12 minutes playing wing with the Sedins. Kassian had to be shocked he went from playing 3rd line winger in Buffalo to playing with the Sedins in Vancouver. He was credited with 5 hits and a shot. Yotes tough guy Paul Bissonnette tweeted after last night's game that Kassian turned down his invite to throw around some fists. Interesting, but I think if it were game 10 in a Canucks jersey he accepts the challenge. Time will tell.
(Enroth) Be curious to see if Enroth gets the call in SJ tomorrow
Prediction: Hard fought game for sure. Buffalo always plays the Ducks well, 3-2 Buffalo.
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