Tonight is the first time since Game 7 of last year, I am this amped up for a game. The Jets and Sabres will battle in the MTS Centre for 8th place in the Eastern Conference tonight. Last night the Flyers stonewalled the Caps in a 1-0 win that made tonight's match up even more exciting. Thank you Philly! The MTS Centre is one of the hardest places in hockey for a road team to pick up a W. It is loud and the Jets always come to play at home. It will be key for the Sabres to get out in front like they did in Anaheim, SJ, and Vancouver last week.
Really quick before I jump more into tonights game I have to give the Sabres full marks for getting a win in Vancouver Saturday. I like many Sabres fans expected the Canucks to roll Buffalo. However the Sabres came out as the team ready to play in the first 5 minutes. They chased Luongo on 3 quick goals, two of which by the suddenly hot Ville Leino. Leino has fit perfectly into the roll that Paul Gaustad vacated as a shut down center between Nathan Gerbe and Patrick Kaleta. Also the fact that he is providing secondary scoring is excellent. Zach Kassian looked like the Kassian that Sabres fans expected when he was drafted providing 2 points Saturday night. Cody Hodgson has made his impact as well getting Tyler Ennis and Drew Stafford playing has two of the hottest players on the team. Only a matter of time before Hodgson gets on the score sheet.
Back to tonight's game, Winnipeg will end a 8 game home stand tonight. Last time out the Jets put up a touchdown on Florida in a 7-0 beating. The have taken 2 of 3 from Buffalo this year one of which came during the road trip from hell. The other two games were very close.
Ryan Miller will again be between the pipes tonight for Buffalo. I was expecting Enroth to go Saturday, but Ruff decided to ride the hot hand. I think the only time Enroth will get in is if Miller has a rough night.
Robyn Regehr is a game time decision tonight, he skated on his own yesterday. However the fact that Marcus Foligno was called up on an emergency basis gives me the impression that Alexander Sulzer will again play tonight. The Jets will be without one of their top defenseman in Zack Bogosian. Jets coach Claude Noel expects Bogosian to miss about a week.
On the negative side of things for Buffalo, the first line of Roy, Vanek, and Pominville has gone ice cold. Vanek and Pominville have stopped scoring. Roy is being well Roy. I would say to pull Roy off this line, but there's no where else to put him. Can't destroy the other two lines that are rolling. Hopefully Vanek and Pommer can get going again in spite of Roy.
I may be getting a bit ahead of myself, but with a win tonight the Sabres will only be 6 behind Ottawa with a matchup against the Senators this weekend looming.
Off topic a tad, but are teams going to be fighting to win/lose for the 6th seed. A first round match up against the Jets, Panthers, or Caps would be good for most teams.
Projection: This is going to come down to who wants it more. Good game and good battle. Sabres need this more than the Jets, 2-1 Buffalo.