Saturday, November 15, 2008

Gamenight 17: Blue jersey night

Anyone remember the last time the Penguins used blue jerseys against Buffalo?

Better know an opponent: The Buffalo Sabress
Record: 9-4-3 (21 points, second in the Northeast Division, 5th in the Eastern Conference)
Season series: first meeting

Notable wins: Washington, at NY Rangers
Notable losses: at Boston, Ottawa
Key injuries: Tim Connolly (regret over braking Gary Roberts leg)
Last game: 6-1 loss home to Columbus last night (yikes!!)
Statistical star: Thomas Vanek [12 goals and 3 assists in 15 games]
Disappointment so far: Drew Stafford [2 goals, 1 assist, -2 in 13 games]

Notable Notes: So far this season four Sabres players (Vanek, Clarke MacArthur, Jason Pominville and Ales Kotalik) have combined for 29 goals, everyone else on the team only has contributed 17...The Sabres have given up 16 goals in their last four games (1-2-1 record)...Have only one regular center (Adam Mair-- 54.4%) with above 50% in road face-off wins...Have only two defensemen (Henrik Tallinder, Toni Lydman) that have a positive +/- rating.
Hockey night in Pittsburgh as the Sabres are in town from the uber-tough Northeast Division. For the Penguins to continue rolling on their current five game winning streak, it's time to buckle down on defense and have a solid night back there for expected starter Marc-Andre Fleury. As we pointed out the Sabres are going to give up space and a lot of chances for the offense, but how the Pens an get back on D and settle the counter-attacks will go a long way to determining the outcome.
Otherwise, pretty much business as usual. Time for the big guns to get out there and gun, the lower lines to forecheck and cycle like demons and the defense to keep holding both bluelines solidly.

TST Opposing Player to Watch: Maxim Afinogenov
--"Hey Jaws, did you know Maxim Afinogenov has been with the Buffalo Sabres since the 1999-2000 season? If you're a Buffalo fan are you not THRILLED with the way this Russian kid has turned out? I mean, so quiet off the ice but such a fancy dangler on it, Jaws could you have imagined IN A MILLION YEARS that he would still be with this team eight seasons later?
For a guy as talented as him though, he only has 11 goals in the last 72 games can you NOT believe it Jaws? But if he can score a goal or two here tonight and the Sabres go on to win the Stanley Cup, how could that not be the moment Buffalo looks back to and says 'THIS is where we turned things around'? Wow, how could the Buffalo fans not be THRILLED if Afinogenov rallies and wins them a Stanley Cup? Garble garble Brett Farve, Larry Brown, garble. "

TST Homeboy of the Game: Petr Sykora
--We got a good feeling about Sykora tonight...He's been fairly quiet this season (3 goals in 13 games) but is always lingering, always about to break through with a sweet goal or two. Plus seven of his nine points this season have come on home ice. Playing against a team like Buffalo could be what the doctor ordered for Sykora.

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